Polyarteritis Nodosa (PAN)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

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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 Robert J. Bryg, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease

REFERENCES:

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 2/5/2016

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