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loresathome (@loresathome)

PMR - How will I know I am in remission?

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) | Last Active: May 12 6:56pm | Replies (43)

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I am not sure if PMR completely goes away or just goes into remission. What have the rest of you been told??

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Replies to "I am not sure if PMR completely goes away or just goes into remission. What have..."

My understanding is once you’ve been diagnosed with PMR you will always have it but it does go into remission and can flare at a later time. I’ve had 2 occurrences 6 years apart and it has been in remission for 4 years now.

I was told that PMR is more likely to go into remission than other autoimmune disorders. Part of the problem with achieving remission of PMR is that long term treatment with prednisone is the current standard of care. Prednisone manages the pain but doesn't solve the problem. As long as you take enough prednisone, pain from a wide variety of disorders will be controlled. The trick is knowing what is causing the pain when you taper your prednisone dose lower. It may be PMR or it may be something else.

Generally speaking, I was told autoimmune disorders have three possibilities after they start.

1) A one time event and it goes away and never happens again.

2) A more likely scenario is that it will progress into a recurring pattern.
Remission is achieved but then it starts recurring. The time between remission and recurrence varies. It could be years before it recurs again. Given that it takes a long time to taper off prednisone when it is taken long term at doses in excess of 10 mg, you need to successfully get to a lower dose of prednisone (approximately 7 mg or less) to know if it is recurring.

3) The last possibility is a chronic form. The pain may be controlled but you will always need some kind of treatment to control chronic inflammation.

My rheumatologist thinks I went through all three phases. I have been diagnosed with 3 different autoimmune disorders. When I was first diagnosed it seemed like it would be a one time event. It took 5 years before it recurred. Then it started to recur more often but I still enjoyed a year or more of remission between flares.

When I was diagnosed with PMR things became chronic. I took prednisone daily for more than 12 years after PMR was diagnosed. I did successfully taper off prednisone. I'm now being treated with a biologic that seems to control all my autoimmune problems.