OBJECTIVES--To evaluate the long term efficacy and tolerability of deflazacort, a corticosteroid reputed to have only minor side effects, in the treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). METHODS--In a prospective open study, deflazacort was administered at an average initial dose of 21.8 mg/day for a mean period of 19 months in 40 patients with PMR. RESULTS--A highly significant improvement of clinical and laboratory parameters occurred one month after therapy onset. This improvement persisted for the whole study period. Laboratory parameters of tolerability did not change during the study. Mild to moderate steroid-related side effects occurred in 57.9% of the patients. CONCLUSIONS--Deflazacort is effective in the treatment of PMR. Its long term safety profile may be superior to that of other corticosteroids.
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