Abnormal calcium transport may be implicated in the membrane defect in myotonic dystrophy. A single blind crossover trial of placebo (t.i.d.), nifedipine 10 mg (t.i.d.) and nifedipine 20 mg (t.i.d.), was performed in 10 patients with myotonic dystrophy. The severity of myotonia was assessed by measuring finger extension time after maximum voluntary finger flexion. A significant improvement in myotonia, after nifedipine, was recorded by this technique and supported by a subjective improvement in 50% of patients and clinical improvement of greater than 20% in five patients. Initial grip strength and muscle fatiguability measured by grip strength ergometry were not significantly altered.
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