Corticosteroid Treatment for Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis
Although corticosteroid treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and giant cell arteritis (GCA) is similar, there are differences in how much medicine you take, how long you may have to take it, and how you track the condition.
The following table shows general treatment guidelines for the two conditions.1
Your doctor will want to keep track of your condition and how it is responding to treatment. Stay in touch with your doctor or nurse while you are taking corticosteroids for polymyalgia rheumatica or giant cell arteritis. And keep in touch for 6 to 12 months after you stop taking this drug.
In both polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis, your symptoms may return after a period of improvement (relapse). If you have a relapse, your doctor may increase your corticosteroid dosage for a period of time and then gradually reduce it after your symptoms are gone.
How long you need to take corticosteroids depends on how severe your condition is, whether it appears cured or not (remission), and how often you have relapses.
If you have polymyalgia rheumatica and do not have giant cell arteritis, your doctor may suggest using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) when you are lowering the dose of your corticosteroid medicine. Always talk to your doctor or nurse before using these medicines.
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