Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

  • 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.

Is it possible to prevent polymyalgia rheumatica?

There is no prevention for polymyalgia rheumatica. Prevention measures focus on preventing side effects of drugs used to treat polymyalgia rheumatica.

What are polymyalgia rheumatica complications?

Polymyalgia rheumatica can lead to loss of function of joints if untreated. This generally is temporary, but frozen shoulders can be a further complication. Additional complications can result from medications used to treat polymyalgia rheumatica. These include stomach bleeding or kidney impairment from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cataracts, bruising of skin, and osteoporosis from cortisone medications. Therefore, the lowest possible doses of medications are best.

Polymyalgia rheumatica can occur in association with giant cell arteritis (temporal arteritis), a potentially more serious condition. It can also occur, as mentioned above, in association with a cancer. The prognosis in this setting is based on the ability to cure the cancer. The polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms resolve with resolution of the cancer.

REFERENCE:

Firestein, Gary S., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2013.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/16/2017

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