Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a common inflammatory rheumatic disease of the elderly that is subject to wide variations in clinical practice and is managed both in the primary and secondary care settings by general practitioners, rheumatologists and non-rheumatologists. Considerable uncertainty exists relating to diagnosis, management and outcome in patients with PMR. The guidelines presented here seek to improve outcomes for PMR patients by outlining a process to ensure more accurate diagnosis and timely specialist referral. The guidelines are directed to promote more conservative treatment and to ensure early bone protection in order to reduce the common morbidity of osteoporotic fractures. Furthermore, these guidelines specify the goals of treatment, including clinical and patient-based outcomes, and provide advice concerning monitoring for disease activity and complications.