Medical management of polymyalgia rheumatica

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2010 May;11(7):1077-87. doi: 10.1517/14656561003724739.


Importance of the field: Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a relatively frequent condition in individuals older than 50 who originate from Western countries. Corticosteroids constitute the cornerstone therapy in the management of patients with PMR.

Areas covered in this review: This review summarizes the current literature on clinical clues for the diagnosis of PMR, conditions mimicking PMR, relapses in the setting of PMR and the main therapeutic strategies.

What the reader will gain: With this information, the reader receives an overview on the current available data on clinical diagnosis and treatment options in PMR. TAKE-HOME MESSAGES: An initial dose of prednisone of 10-20 mg/day yields clinical improvement in the majority of patients with PMR. This is generally achieved within 7 days of the onset of this therapy. Conditions different from isolated PMR should be considered in atypical cases or when a good response to 20 mg/day of prednisone is not achieved. Relapses of PMR are not uncommon when the dose of prednisone is equal to or below than 5 mg/day. Methotrexate is the most commonly used corticosteroid sparing agent. Osteoporosis prophylaxis is also recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / diagnosis
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / drug therapy*
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Prednisone
  • Methotrexate