Definition of Mixed connective tissue disease
Mixed connective tissue disease: A mixture of three diseases of connective tissue (the framework for the cells of the body): systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and polymyositis. Patients with mixed connective tissue disease typically have features of each of these three component diseases. They also typically have very high blood levels of antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) and antibodies to ribonucleoprotein (anti-RNP). The symptoms often eventually become dominated by features of one of the three component illnesses, most commonly scleroderma. The treatment for mixed connective tissue disease depends on which features are causing symptoms. Treatment is often directed at suppressing the inflammation in the tissues by using anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medications. These medications include nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone drugs/steroids (such as prednisone), and cytotoxic drugs (such as methotrexate, azathioprine, and cyclophosphamide). Organ damage, such as to the kidneys, can require additional specific treatment.
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012
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