Objective: To describe the maintenance dose and annual cessation rate of oral corticosteroids in relation to the starting dose in patients with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and temporal arteritis (TA).
Methods: A prospective two-years observational study of 273 patients with PMR and TA followed by rheumatologists.
Results: Mean daily maintenance dose of prednisolone during the first and second year was 5.7 mg and 4.3 mg for PMR, 6.6 mg and 4.1 mg for TA, and 8.3 mg and 4.7 mg for PMR with TA. There was a strong association between the initial dose and maintenance dose. The rate of steroid cessation after two years in PMR was 24%, in TA 16%, and in PMR with TA 5%.
Conclusion: Low initial dose of prednisolone is associated with low maintenance dose. This is important as the majority of patients with PMR and TA will be treated for more than two years.