The TARGET Consortium

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Around 50% of people who are diagnosed with GCA develop polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). PMR is a condition that causes inflammation in and around the joints. If you have GCA, you may also have symptoms of PMR. A small proportion of patients with PMR may develop GCA at a later date. This may occur after reduction of their steroid treatment for GCA or after steroids have been stopped completely.

PMR is an inflammatory condition that causes pain, tenderness and stiffness in the regions around the shoulders, hips and neck. It generally affects older people (the average age it starts is about 75) and is very rare indeed in people under the age of 50. Each year about 4 in every 10,000 people in the UK develop PMR; about three-quarters of these are women. The average duration of steroid treatment to treat PMR in the UK is around two years, but some patients need treatment for longer.

What are the symptoms?

The key symptoms of PMR are stiffness and pain in the areas around the shoulders, hips, and neck. The stiffness and pain is worse first thing in the morning and often eases off during the day. Many patients also report fatigue or tiredness.

How is PMR treated?

PMR is treated with oral steroids such as prednisolone. The starting dose of prednisolone is not as high as that which is typically given for GCA. The dose is gradually tapered over time.


For further information about PMR you can visit the NHS choices pages


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