How long can you take steroids for polymyalgia

How long can you take steroids for polymyalgia

Are you among the many individuals who suffer from polymyalgia? If so, you might be wondering how long you can safely take prednisone or steroids for the condition. Prednisone and steroids are commonly prescribed medications for polymyalgia, however, it’s important to understand the potential risks that come with long-term use. In this blog, we’ll share some key information about how long you can take steroids (prednisone) for polymyalgia. We’ll also discuss how to manage your symptoms, when to reach out to your doctor, and other potential treatments. So, let’s dive in and get the information you need to make informed decisions about your health.

1. What is polymyalgia and why are steroids prescribed?

Polymyalgia is an inflammatory disorder that affects the muscles and ligaments in the body. It’s most common in people over the age of 50 and affects women more than men. Symptoms of polymyalgia can include pain and stiffness, fever, fatigue, and weight loss. Steroids are used to reduce inflammation and improve pain relief. They can also help improve your ability to move and decrease fatigue.

2. When do doctors recommend starting steroids for polymyalgia?

Your doctor may start you on steroids if your symptoms are severe and causing significant disruption to your daily activities. They may also start you on steroids if your symptoms have not improved after a few weeks of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. You may be asked to take steroids for several weeks and then stop.

3. What factors influence the duration of steroid treatment for polymyalgia?

The duration of your steroid treatment for polymyalgia will depend on several factors, including:

  • The severity of your symptoms
  • Your response to the treatment
  • Your age and general health
  • Other medications you are taking

Your doctor will closely monitor your symptoms and make adjustments to your treatment plan as needed.

4. Risks of long-term steroid use for polymyalgia

Long-term use of steroids for polymyalgia can lead to a variety of serious side effects. These can include weight gain, increased blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, increased risk of infections, cataracts, and reduced bone density. It’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of steroid therapy with your doctor before starting treatment.

5. Tips for coping with steroid treatment for polymyalgia

Coping with steroid treatment for polymyalgia can be difficult. Here are some tips for managing your symptoms:

  • Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor and adhere to the recommended dosage.
  • Talk to your doctor about other treatments that could help reduce your symptoms.
  • Eat a balanced diet to meet your nutrient needs.
  • Exercise as your doctor recommends.
  • Get plenty of rest and relaxation.
  • Talk to your doctor or a counsellor if you have questions or concerns about your condition or treatment.

Managing your symptoms can help you feel better and stay as active as possible.


Q: What is polymyalgia?
A: Polymyalgia is an inflammatory disorder that affects the muscles and joints. Symptoms include pain and stiffness, especially in the shoulder and hip areas.

Q: What are steroids?
A: Steroids are synthetic versions of hormones that can help reduce inflammation and pain.

Q: How long can I take steroids for polymyalgia?
A: Generally, short-term courses of steroids (4-12 weeks) are recommended for polymyalgia. Long-term courses of steroids (longer than 12 weeks) are generally not recommended, as they can lead to serious side effects.

Q: What kind of side effects can long-term steroid use lead to?
A: Possible side effects of long-term steroid use for polymyalgia include weakened bones, weight gain, high blood pressure, mood changes, and increased risk of infections.

Final notes

Remember to consult with your doctor to figure out the best course of action for you. Polymyalgia is an intimidating condition, but with the right treatment, you can meet it head on. With steroid therapy, you’re able to manage your symptoms effectively and safely. Keep in mind that while there are some successful cases of longer and even continuous steroid use, it’s always best to start with short-term steroid use to minimize the potential risks for long-term health concerns.
Polymyalgia is a long-term autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the shoulder and hip muscles, resulting in pain and stiffness. Steroids are a widely-used treatment for this condition, but as with any long-term medication, the question of how long to take it for arises.

The duration of steroid use for polymyalgia varies greatly between individuals and depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the condition, the type and dose of steroid prescribed and the patient’s response to the medication. Generally, steroid usage is tapered off as the patient’s symptoms begin to improve. For some, this may only require a few weeks of steroid use, while for others it may take several months or even longer.

In general, the most important factor in determining how long to use steroids for polymyalgia is the severity of the condition. Patients with more severe symptoms and higher inflammation levels may require longer courses of steroids than those with milder cases of the condition. The type and dose of steroid also influences this decision; some may require higher doses for longer periods to keep symptoms in check.

It is important to discuss any medication plans with your doctor before starting or stopping steroids. A doctor will be able to assess the severity of the condition and determine the best treatment plan. In addition, it is important to be aware of the associated side effects of using steroids over extended periods of time. This includes osteoporosis, a weakened immune system, and the risk of developing infections.

Overall, the duration of steroid use for polymyalgia varies from one person to the next and depends largely on the severity of the condition and response to the medication. A doctor can provide more specific information on when to start or stop steroid use based on the individual case.