a neurotransmitter chemical that nerve cells release to stimulate your muscles.
People with a chronic disease called myasthenia gravis don’t have normal reactions to
acetylcholine. Antibodies attack their receptors for acetylcholine. This prevents
muscles from being stimulated and makes muscles tired.
The Tensilon test uses the drug Tensilon (edrophonium) to diagnose myasthenia gravis.Tensilon prevents the breaking
down of the chemical acetylcholine, which then helps stimulate the muscles. A person
tests positive for myasthenia gravis if their muscles get stronger after being
injected with Tensilon.
for Tensilon Test
Your doctor might order the Tensilon test if they suspect that
you have myasthenia gravis. If you’ve already been diagnosed, you also may have
the test to monitor your dosage of Tensilon or another anticholinesterase drug.
work by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine in people with myasthenia
Labored breathing and extremely weak muscles are symptoms that
your myasthenia gravis has worsened or you’ve overdosed on the medication. The
Tensilon test helps your doctor determine the right treatment.
Tensilon Test Procedure
Before the test, your doctor might set dietary restrictions or
tell you to discontinue certain medications or supplements. Let your doctor
know all of the medications you’re taking, including herbs. Some can interfere
with your test results.
The test will start with an intravenous (IV) needle into your arm
or the back of your hand. A small amount of Tensilon will then be injected.
Your stomach might feel upset, or your heart rate might increase from the drug.
Depending on why the test is being administered, it will proceed in different
Myasthenia Gravis Diagnosis
If your doctor suspects you have myasthenia gravis, they’ll tell
you to perform a repetitive movement to test your muscles. This may be:
up and down from your chair
and uncrossing your legs
your arms overhead until they get tired
backward from 100 until your voice starts to weaken
Each time you get tired, they’ll give you another dose of
Tensilon. You might get three or four shots of the drug. Your doctor will observe
whether the shot revives your strength each time. If so, you may be diagnosed
with myasthenia gravis. Your doctor might also administer another
anticholinesterase drug called neostigmine (Prostigmin) to confirm the
Tensilon Overdose and Disease Progression
If your doctor is trying to determine whether you’ve overdosed on
Tensilon or if your disease is getting worse, they’ll inject a small amount of
Tensilon and see what happens. Depending on the results, you’ll be given an
additional drug (either neostigmine or atropine) to stabilize you.
Each of these procedures should take about 15 to 30 minutes.
of Tensilon Test
Your doctor should be able to tell you the test results right
away. You’ll probably be put on anticholinesterase drug therapy if you’re diagnosed
with myasthenia gravis. Your doctor might want you to take additional tests to
confirm the diagnosis.
If your doctor tries to determine whether you overdosed on
medication or if your condition has worsened, this test would immediately
provide the answer. If an injection of Tensilon temporarily boosts your
strength, the myasthenia gravis has gotten worse and you’ll need further
treatment. If the Tensilon injection makes you even weaker, then you have too
much anticholinesterase medication in your system.
Anticholinesterase medication is taken when necessary. There’s no
fixed dosage. This is because the symptoms of myasthenia gravis can vary each
day due to factors such as stress and weather. This makes an unintended
overdose more likely. Reducing your dosage or frequency should solve the
problem if you have minimal side effects. Contact your doctor immediately if you
noticeable muscular weakness
of Tensilon Test
The Tensilon test has a number of common side effects.
Fortunately, these usually last for less than a minute. Side effects include:
or rapid, uncontrollable blinking
If you continue to feel unwell, the doctor may give you an
injection of atropine. This drug reverses the effects of Tensilon.
In rare cases, the Tensilon test can have dangerous outcomes like
breathing failure or abnormal heart rhythms. That’s why the test is performed
in places where emergency resuscitation equipment is available.
Blood might also accumulate under your skin at the IV site. This
clot is called a hematoma. You
can apply ice if the clot is large enough to be uncomfortable. Switch to warm
compresses after 24 hours. These will help dissolve the hematoma.
You might not be a good candidate for the test if you have:
- a slow heart rate
- an irregular heartbeat
- low blood pressure
- obstructions in the urinary tract or intestines
If you have sleep apnea, your doctor might not recommend the Tensilon
test. This is a condition in which you temporarily stop breathing while
Let your doctor know if you have any of these conditions. They’ll
be able to determine the right treatment options for you.