How does prednisone work with polymalgia rheumatica?


Quick Answer

The mechanism of action of prednisone in polymyalgia rheumatica is not well understood, and many believe the efficacy of treatment is related to the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of the drug, explains Medscape. Polymyalgia rheumatic responds to low doses of prednisone, and some patients require treatment for several years.

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Full Answer

Prednisone treatment begins with doses between 10 and 20 milligrams per day, and many patients experience a significant reduction of symptoms within the first two days, describes Mayo Clinic. People who do not experience relief during this time period most likely do not have polymyalgia rheumatica. After several weeks of successful therapy, the dose of prednisone is gradually reduced, and the doctor monitors the patient for the relapse of symptoms.

A gradual taper of prednisone is important because the medication has significant side effects, including weight gain, osteoporosis, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and cataracts, explains Mayo Clinic. A sudden withdrawal of prednisone is not recommended because it is associated with relapse.

Symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica include aches and pain in the shoulders, neck, upper arms, buttocks, hips and thighs, according to Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include morning stiffness and limited range of motion in the affected areas, mild or low-grade fever, fatigue, malaise, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, and depression.

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