Myotonia is repetitive firing of muscle action potentials causing prolonged muscle contractions even after mechanical stimulations to the muscles have ceased. Most common myotonic disorder is myotonic dystrophy which is now termed DM1, myotonic dystrophy type 1. In Japan, proximal myotonic myopathy, which is now called DM2 has not been reported. Both DM1 and DM2 have Cl channel abnormality which causes myotonia. Less commonly we encounter Thomsen’s disease, and autosomal recessive generalized myotonia (Becker type) which also have a Cl channel abnormality. There are other myotonic disorders related to Na channelopathy which include three disorders: paramyotonia congenita, adynamia episodica hereditaria, and myotonia fluctuans. Myotonia has been treated by various Na channel blockers, mexiletine, phenytoin, and carbamazepine, but they were originally developed for cardiac arrhythmia, or seizure disorders and they have undesirable side effects, weakness. Comprehensive treatment includes myotonia control without reducing the strength, and care for systemic manifestations of DM1.
2005 by The Japanese Society of Internal Medicine