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maryft (@maryft)

PMR Dosages and Managing Symptoms

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) | Last Active: Sep 14 1:58pm | Replies (405)

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Hi all. I do think it is best to seek out a rheumatologist for treatment of this disease. My rheumatologist commented that many people are on high dosages of prednisone for way too long. PMR and GCA (Giant Cell Arteritis) are companion disorders. I've been diagnosed with both. GCA is more severe – so I was put on 40 mg. prednisone for two weeks, initially (given my size = about 100 lbs), then told to taper down by 5 mg. every two weeks, but if symptoms returned to go back up to the previous dosage. Luckily, I had no flareups while tapering down. I am now down to 10 mg. The doctor said to stay on this dosage for a month, then taper down by 2.5 mg for a month, etc. I do get a sense from reading posts that many people are left on their own to figure out tapering. Prednisone is such a powerful drug with so many side effects that it seems most doctors want to get patients down to the lowest dose possible to manage symptoms, and it is trial and error. We basically have to stay on prednisone until our immune systems calm down…and then it seems, they can get excited again. Cecil and Goldman's Textbook of Medicine states that "Steroid treated PMR + GCA are self-limited illnesses…" Eventually, they burn out, for some, sooner than later.

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Replies to "Hi all. I do think it is best to seek out a rheumatologist for treatment of..."

Thanks for the reference to the Textbook of Medicine. The "self limited illness" may shed some light on why my pain is getting worse and my labs are getting hight while I've been at the same does, 15 mg, for a couple months. I tried to taper but when y labs went up the Dr told me to increase again. I see him tomorrow — first time in 3 months. Hope to learn a lot.

What were your symptoms of GCA? I have just been diagnosed with PMR. Did 5 days at 40mg and now 2 weeks on 20mg of prednisone. Pain is much better but having dull headaches everyday. Have not been tested for GCA and don't know if I should ask my Dr. to test or wait. Not really sure if this is GCA or just headache. It is not specifically in my temple area and my vision is getting worse but think it is likely age related (but who knows). Anyone have specific info on symptoms …..?

Just be careful. 2 1/2 mg a months is a fast taper.

GCA doesn't burn out