How are these conditions treated?
For mild cases of PMR, your doctor may recommend that you take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). These medicines include aspirin, ibuprofen (some brand names: Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (one brand name: Aleve). However, NSAIDs are not effective in the treatment of GCA.
Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid to treat the inflammation and pain associated with GCA and more severe cases of PMR. These medicines are taken by mouth (in pill form). Once you start taking a corticosteroid, you should feel better quickly. You may need to take this medicine for up to 2 years. Taking a corticosteroid for a long time can raise your blood pressure and your blood sugar levels, or weaken your bones. Your doctor will need to keep checking you for these side effects during your treatment.
What else can I do to ease the symptoms of these conditions?
Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise can help relieve the symptoms of both GCA and PMR.
Management of Giant Cell Arteritis and Polymyalgia Rheumatica by S Meskimen, M.S.N, TD Cook, M.S.N., and RL Blake, M.D. (American Family Physician April 01, 2000, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000401/2061.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff