What Is TheTreatment of Polymyalgia Rheumatica?
For Polymyalgia rheumatica the treatment of choice is corticosteroid, the most popular being prednisone.
Treatment of Polymyalgia rheumatica can be tricky as it will usually respond slowly to a low daily dose and this may be increased over time until the symptoms decrease. At this stage the dosage may be altered to find a maintenance dose.
It is also common to use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin and ibuprofen in the treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica. This medication should be taken daily but common side effects include stomach irritation. Most patients will find that NSAIDs alone do not provide enough symptomatic relief.
Whether taken for the long-term for treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica or for a shorter period in the case of giant cell arteritis, prednisone carries a risk like all medication, of side effects. The greatest risk will be with prolonged use and high dosage. However all those taking the medication should be alerted to possible side effects.
- fluid retention and unexplained weight gain
- rounding of the face, also known as ‘moon face’
- irritation of the stomach
- bruising easily
- myopathy (muscle wasting)
- delayed wound healing
- increased blood pressure
- increase in infections.
- decreased calcium absorption in the bones, which can lead to osteoporosis
Corticosteroid takers may have some side effects or none at all. All side effects should be reported to the doctor. Side effects should stop when the medication is ceased. Prednisone and other corticosteroids drugs reduce the body’s natural production of corticosteroid hormones, which play important roles in the function of the body