Polyarteritis Nodosa (cont.)

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What is the treatment for polyarteritis nodosa?

Polyarteritis is a serious illness that can be fatal. Treatment is directed toward decreasing the inflammation of the arteries by suppressing the immune system. Medications used to treat polyarteritis nodosa include high-dose intravenous and oral cortisone medications such as prednisone, as well as immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) or azathioprine (Imuran).

When hepatitis B is present in patients with polyarteritis, antiviral medications (such as vidarabine and interferon-alpha) are used as primary treatments. Treatments have included various combinations of antiviral medications, plasma exchange, and immunosuppressive drugs.

What is the outlook (prognosis) of polyarteritis nodosa?

The outlook for patients with polyarteritis nodosa depends on the degree of damage to affected organs and the response to treatments. For those patients with underlying hepatitis B infection, eradication of the virus is essential for optimal outcome.

Can polyarteritis nodosa be prevented?

The only prevention for polyarteritis nodosa is to avoid the risk of hepatitis B.

Medically reviewed by Kirkwood Johnston, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Rheumatology


Koopman, William, et al., eds. Clinical Primer of Rheumatology. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003.

Ruddy, Shaun, et al., eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 2000.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2014