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Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Prevention & Treatment

Monday, Aug. 27, 2007; 7:46 PM

Copyright Harvard Health Publications 2007

Prevention

Because the cause of polymyalgia rheumatica is not known, there is no way to prevent it.

Treatment

Although nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) often are tried, they are rarely very helpful. Corticosteroids (such as prednisone) usually are required to treat polymyalgia rheumatica effectively. Low doses (10 to 20 milligrams per day) are highly effective.

Physical therapy may help to control discomfort and maintain the ability to move and function. For people who have significant side effects, other drugs such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) or methotrexate (Rheumatrex, and others) often are prescribed. Doctors may prescribe additional medications to prevent the side effects of prednisone; for example, alendronate (Fosamax) to prevent osteoporosis.

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