Polymyalgia rheumatica in the 2018–2020 clinical guidelines. Part I. At-risk groups, adjuvant therapy

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О.G. Puzanovа


At the beginning of the Healthy Ageing Decade, a number of guidelines were published describing management of the rheumatic diseases of the elderly. The aim of the paper is to cha­racterize and discuss the Italian Society of Rheumatology’s guideline for polymyalgia rheumatica (2020) and the European Association of Nuclear Medicine, the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, and the American Society of Nuclear Cardio­logy’s (2018) recommendation for positron-emission tomography/computed tomography imaging to diagnose the large vessel vasculitis and polymyalgia rheumatica. The following methods were used: original texts of recommedations, their content and methodology behind the development of both guidelines were studied by means of information analysis and compared with the recommendations for the management of polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis elaborated in 2018–2020 by the European League Against Rheumatism, American College of Rheumatology; the German, Austrian, Swiss and British rheumatological societies; the European Headache Federation and their references. We’ve established the priority of consensus approach for the development of modern guidelines for polymyalgia rheumatica. The specific feature of the Italian guideline’s development is the search for prototypes restric­ted to the two evidence-based medicine databases and the grey li­terature as well as selection of three international guidelines for ­adaptation, one of them elaborated by the societies for nuclear me­dicine. The following issues were updated: the patient management in primary care (whose algorithm is proposed), including the conserted clinical decision-making and alertness to the giant cell arteritis. Out of the first-line therapy tools, only the initial doses of glucocorticoids are evidence-based, and their reduction is allowed as an alternating regimen. The ineffectiveness of hydroxichloroquine use is justified, while both azathioprine and alternative medical drugs are not subject to discussion. It is necessary to identify the risk factors for vasculitis and its relapses, longterm glucocorticoid use and their side effects. For the first time, the use of positron-emission tomography/computed tomography is recommended for detecting of vasculitis. The recommendation for adjuvant therapy with methotrexate and abstaining from the biologic agents is found the most evidence-based, strongest and consistent; referral to a rheumatologist being the least agreed-on position. Conclusion. Solving such an urgent healthcare problem as improving the quality of polymyalgia rheumatic management suggests the medical standards being raised on the most clinically important issues, the importance of at-risk patient identification and referral to rheumatologists and ophthalmologists, and consideration of the methotrexate’s benefits.

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Puzanovа О. “Polymyalgia Rheumatica in the 2018–2020 Clinical Guidelines. Part I. At-Risk Groups, Adjuvant Therapy”. PAIN, JOINTS, SPINE, vol. 10, no. 4, Nov. 2020, pp. 161-73, doi:10.22141/2224-1507.10.4.2020.220456.


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