Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disease that causes inflammation throughout the body. It results in muscle pain and stiffness.
The cause of PMR is unknown. Genes and things in the environment may play a role.
PMR is most common in people over 50 years of age. It is more common in women and people of European descent.
Symptoms of PMR may include:
- Muscle pain and stiffness in the hip, shoulder, or neck
- Pain that spreads to the elbows or knees
- Low energy
- Morning stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes
- Weight loss without a known cause
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. PMR will be suspected if symptoms are there for more than 2 weeks.
A blood test may be done to rule out other causes.
Treatment often leads to quick relief. Steps may include:
- Corticosteroids—may be used for up to 2 years at low doses
- Anti-inflammatory medicine
- Interleukin-6 (IL-6) antagonists when corticosteroids cannot be taken or are not helpful
Long term steroids can cause bone loss. Supplements may be given to stop bone loss.
PMR can not be prevented.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: https://rheumatology.org/patients/polymyalgia-rheumatica.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/polymyalgia-rheumatica-pmr.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/polymyalgia-rheumatica-giant-cell-arteritis.
- 3/24/2023 EBSCO DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/polymyalgia-rheumatica-pmr: Kevzara label. FDA website. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2023/761037s013lbl.pdf.
- April Scott, NP
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