Current diagnosis and treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica

Joint Bone Spine. 2014 May;81(3):203-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2013.12.010. Epub 2014 Jan 22.


The diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) have changed substantially in recent years. Rather than a single disease entity, PMR has emerged as a syndrome produced by a variety of conditions. The diagnostic criteria that have been used for several decades are inadequate. These facts support a new and broader pathological concept, polymyalgic syndrome, and a standardized diagnostic and therapeutic approach designed to rule out diseases with misleading presentations and to identify the limited number of patients with polymyalgic syndrome who have PMR. Criteria for both polymyalgic syndrome and PMR were developed recently but remain to be validated. These criteria are discussed, as well as the suggested diagnostic approach and treatment strategy. In contrast, studies on pathophysiological models, inflammatory mechanisms, and genetic factors are not considered herein, as they were conducted in heterogeneous populations of patients who did not meet the new criteria. Current data indicate that polymyalgic syndrome is a mode of onset of inflammatory joint disease in individuals older than 50 years of age and not (in most cases) a disease entity.

Keywords: Diagnostic criteria; Glucocorticoid therapy; PMR-DAS; Polymyalgia rheumatica; Polymyalgic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / diagnosis*
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / drug therapy*
  • Syndrome


  • Glucocorticoids