Polymyalgia rheumatica/temporal arteritis: recent advances

Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2002 Feb;4(1):39-46. doi: 10.1007/s11926-002-0022-0.


Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)/temporal arteritis (TA) frequently causes significant morbidity in patients older than 50 years of age. This review highlights recent trends in clinical findings, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and laboratory and radiologic assessment of the disease. Although steroids are the mainstay of therapy because of their effectiveness and ease of administration, they have numerous side effects, particularly in an aging population. Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that steroids only suppress clinical symptoms, while a smoldering level of damaging vascular inflammation persists. As a result, alternative agents are actively being investigated. We compare their successes and shortcomings and offer insight into their potential role in the treatment of this disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Aged
  • Azathioprine / administration & dosage
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / complications
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / diagnosis*
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / complications
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / diagnosis*
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Azathioprine
  • Methotrexate