Polymyalgia rheumatica Treatment

Polymyalgia rheumatica Treatment

“I have severe osteoporosis, and am aware of the need to prevent it as far as possible. I am confident that the findings will lead to changes in practice. A history of falls on the first survey was linked with more fractures at both 12 and 24 months. At 24 months, 10% people reported a new fracture, most of whom (79%) had reported a fracture on the first survey.

  • The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.
  • I have taken Actemra for 4 years now and off prednisone for 3 years.
  • A small number of people may need to take steroids for the rest of their life.
  • Doctors often advise patients to take extra calcium and vitamin D, and sometimes they may prescribe a “bone hardener” medication to take along with Prednisone.

Contact your GP if your symptoms return during any part of your treatment. See side effects of corticosteroids for more information about how these side effects may affect you and how they’re treated. Seek immediate medical advice if you think you’ve been exposed to the varicella-zoster virus, or if a member of your household develops chickenpox or shingles. About one in 20 people who take prednisolone will experience changes in their mental state when they take the medication.

Welcome to Versus Arthritis chatbot

However, prolonged treatment at high doses ‐ particularly with steroid tablets ‐ can cause problems in some people. Corticosteroids, often known as steroids, are an anti-inflammatory medicine prescribed for a wide range of conditions. Most people diagnosed with it are over 65, and it’s very rare in people younger than 50.

  • The key symptoms of PMR are stiffness and pain in the areas around the shoulders, hips, and neck.
  • Some people are prescribed immunosuppressant medication, such as methotrexate.
  • About 1 in 20 people experience changes in their mental state when they take prednisolone.
  • To start with, you may be prescribed a moderate dose of prednisolone.
  • Higher doses taken for long periods of time are be more likely to cause side-effects than short courses of lower dose prednisone.

Always seek the opinion of your GP or other qualified medical professional before starting any new treatment, or making changes to existing treatment. It is frequently linked to Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) occurring in 50 per cent of patients with GCA. Even when the patient is on very low doses of the medication — as in your case — we must be constantly aware of the potential for side-effects.


The most common symptom of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is pain and stiffness in the shoulder muscles, which develops quickly over a few days or weeks. The stiffness is often worse first thing in the morning after you wake up. Your doctor https://nsportstrust.co.uk is likely to prescribe corticosteroids to reduce the pain of polymyalgia. Sometimes called ‘steroids’ for short, these drugs work by reducing inflammation – and even a small dose can be hugely effective at easing pain and stiffness.

What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

The term describes many different kinds of disorder where there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain leading to seizures. It affects about 3 per cent of people, with new cases usually seen in infants and children and people over 50. Most people with PMR are in their 60s or older — it is very rare in those under 50 — and typically women are affected.

Although your symptoms should improve within a few days of starting treatment, you’ll probably need to continue taking a low dose of prednisolone for about two years. Two blood tests – erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) – can be used to check the levels of inflammation in your body. Diagnosing polymyalgia rheumatica can be difficult because the symptoms are similar to those of many other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.

How is it diagnosed and what should I avoid doing if I have polymyalgia rheumatica?

In these instances, treatment is urgent, to prevent damage to blood vessels that can lead to strokes, heart attacks and blood vessel wall damage. People with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) typically have pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, hips and thighs. Steroids are the mainstay of treatment, and can be taken alongside medications for osteoporosis (including bisphosphonates), and calcium and vitamin D supplements, to protect bones. Many people with polymyalgia rheumatica reported taking steroids for far longer than 2 years (suggested by UK guidelines).

The steroids included prednisolone, prednisone, hydrocortisone and cortisone. The risk of infection increased with higher doses and was elevated even with low daily doses of less than 5mg of prednisolone. Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder that causes pain and stiffness in the muscles around the neck, shoulders, pelvis, hips and upper legs. Generally, it presents as an autoimmune disease that is triggered by one of several stimuli in the environment.

It is estimated that 1 in every 1,200 people develop this inflammatory disorder in the UK every year. In some cases, however, it is not recognised as polymyalgia rheumatica. The condition is thought to be one of the effects of ageing, but these come on slowly. Polymyalgia rheumatica, on the other hand, can develop in a matter of days or over a few weeks.

These conditions will need to be ruled out before polymyalgia rheumatica is diagnosed. Doctors often advise patients to take extra calcium and vitamin D, and sometimes they may prescribe a “bone hardener” medication to take along with Prednisone. You may be referred to a rheumatologist to confirm the diagnosis and advise on treatment.