CreatineExerciseRheumatoid Diseases

Using creatine to treat dermatomyositis and polymyositis

The former produces skin inflammation and muscle weakness. People with the later condition get weakness of limb and neck muscles, with muscle pain and swelling.

First, the details.

  • Over 6 months, 37 patients were randomly assigned to take creatine supplements by mouth (8 days, 20 gm/day then 3 gm/day) or placebo.
  • All patients followed a home exercise program.

And the results.

  • Aggregate functional performance time (AFPT), a test of the ability to do high-intensity exercise, improved significantly at 6 months with creatine compared to placebo.
  • The functional index (endurance) improved significantly in both groups.
  • No significant side effects were reported.

Too bad they didn’t evaluate quality of life or changes in the patients’ activities during the day.

Creatine is made from amino acids primarily in the kidney and liver, and transported in the blood for use by muscles. has a concise review.

A review on Medscape concluded, “While creatine may enhance the performance of high-intensity, short-duration exercise, it is not useful in endurance sports.” This study appears to support that view.

5/25/07 19:24 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.