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Having polymyalgia rheumatica. How long does it take to get cured?

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Practicing since : 1981
Answered : 922 Questions
I have had Polymyalgia Rheumatica for over 3 and a half years now.
What signs should I be looking for to tell whether it is on the way out.
I am due to see a Rheumatologist next month.Does it go gradually
or spontaneously? My Doctor seems to think I have about another 4 months to go.
Is it common that it should last 4 years?
Posted Wed, 8 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 3 hours later
Thanks for writing in.
I am a medical specialist with an additional degree in Cardiology. I read your mail with diligence.
Points to remember:
1. Aching and stiffness develop quickly in Poly Myalgia Rheumatica(PMR} and
are most common about the shoulders and upper arms.
2 Symptoms are worse in the morning. Symptoms respond promptly to low doses
of corticosteroids, but may recur as the dose is lowered.
3. When your symptoms are under control, your doctor will slowly decrease
(“taper”) the dose of corticosteroid medicine. The goal is to find the lowest
dose that keeps you comfortable.
4. Some people can stop taking corticosteroids within a year. Others, though, will
need a small amount of this medicine for 2–3 years, to keep aching and
stiffness under control. Symptoms can recur. Because the symptoms of PMR
are sensitive to even small changes in the dose of corticosteroids, your doctor
should direct the gradual decrease of this medicine.
When the disease is going to remission is when the doctor needs lesser and lesser dose of steroids. How long it take is the judgement of doctor arrived after a discussion with the patient.
Most people with polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis lead productive, active lives. The duration of drug treatment differs by patient. Once treatment is discontinued, polymyalgia may recur; but once again, symptoms respond rapidly to prednisone. When properly treated, giant cell arteritis rarely recurs.

Most cases do not require sterroids after 3 years so it is not very unusual for someone to go on for 4 years.

National Institute of Health has these websites for help of the patients where they can find more information. For this disease is often confused with Fibromyalgia and people have confusion about prognosis.


If there is any further querstion please ask in followup query I will be most happy to answer it.

With Best Wishes
Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
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