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Dr Mark Kennedy - Private Internal Medicine Specialist

Private Service

Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis

Patient information:

These are systemic conditions of unknown cause that cause significant disability.  Giant cell arteritis is a serious inflammation that involves medium and large sized arteries.  There is an associated risk of sudden blindness, stroke and other artery and cardiac problems.  Giant cell arteritis requires an urgent diagnosis with temporal artery biopsy. 

Polymyalgia rheumatica is a less worrying condition, though untreated can cause significant disability.  Some patients have both giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia together.  Both giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica are typically managed with corticosteroid tablets over months or short years.  Regular blood tests are required for monitoring.  On occasions more powerful treatment with methotrexate is required.

This page was last updated at 2:04PM on October 8, 2019.