Polymyalgia Rheumatica - Treatment

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What is the treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica?

The treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica is directed toward reducing inflammation. While some patients with mild symptoms can improve with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), most patients respond best to low doses of cortisone medications (steroid medications, such as prednisone or prednisolone). Not infrequently, a single day of cortisone medication eases many of the symptoms! In fact, the rapid, gratifying results with low dose cortisone medications is characteristic of polymyalgia rheumatica.

The dose of prednisone is gradually reduced while the doctor monitors the symptoms and normalization of the blood ESR. Reactivation of symptoms can require periodic adjustments in the prednisone dosage. Most patients are able to completely wean from prednisone within several years. Some patients require longer-term treatment. Occasionally, patients have recurrence years after the symptoms have resolved. The ideal prednisone dosing regimen continues to be sought by researchers.

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Comment from: kreusing, 75 or over (Patient) Published: December 27

I was diagnosed with polymyalgia. I have been on prednisone for three days and I feel improved but not better. Years ago I had temporal arthritis and was given prednisone and woke up without pain. I understand that if you have one type the other can attack you years later. I also have anxiety and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which makes it difficult.

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Comment from: Kevin, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: December 17

I am a 72 year male. Two years ago I contracted shingles which lasted for around 12 months then almost immediately I awoke one morning almost unable to move, very stiff and sore, particularly in both shoulders and I had difficulty lifting my arms above the shoulders. I had a steroid injection in each shoulder and that helped with the shoulders. Prednisone 15mg per day alleviated the other symptoms. Being an active lawn bowler I continued almost daily rollup practices as well as walking the dogs. The aches and pains vary slightly, but I have been able to reduce the prednisone to 10mg some 12 months after the onset. However, I still get very fatigued both physically and mentally after a full day on the bowling green. My BMI (body mass index) is good. My general health is ok and I am regular of meals and rest. The PMR (polymyalgia rheumatica) seems to be in a holding pattern, not getting better or worse. A hot shower, exercise and rest, plus a good night's sleep each day seems to be helping.

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