The correct prednisone starting dose in polymyalgia rheumatica is related to body weight but not to disease severity

Marco A. Cimmino, Massimiliano Parodi, Carlomaurizio Montecucco, Roberto Caporali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: the mainstay of treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is oral glucocorticoids, but randomized controlled trials of treatment are lacking. As a result, there is no evidence from controlled studies on the efficacy of different initial doses or glucocorticoid tapering. The aim of this study is to test if 12.5 mg prednisone/day is an adequate starting dose in PMR and to evaluate clinical predictors of drug response. Methods. 60 consecutive PMR patients were treated with a starting dose of 12,5 mg/day prednisone. Clinical, laboratory, and, in a subset of 25 patients, ultrasonographic features were recorded as possible predictors of response to prednisone. Remission was defined as disappearance of at least 75% of the signs and symptoms of PMR and normalization of ESR and CRP within the first month, a scenario allowing steroid tapering. Results: 47/60 (78.3%) patients responded to 12.5 mg of prednisone after a mean interval of 6.6 5.2 days. In univariate analysis, body weight and gender discriminated the two groups. In multivariate analysis, the only factor predicting a good response was low weight (p = 0.004); the higher response rate observed in women was explained by their lower weight. The mean prednisone dose per kg in the responders was 0.19 0.03 mg in comparison with 0.16 0.03 mg for non responders (p = 0.007). Conclusions: 12.5 mg prednisone is a sufficient starting dose in of PMR patients. The main factor driving response to prednisone in PMR was weight, a finding that could help in the clinical care of PMR patients and in designing prospective studies of treatment. Trial Registration. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01169597.

Original languageEnglish
Article number94
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • glucocorticoid
  • polymyalgia rheumatica
  • prednisone
  • ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rheumatology

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