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SP0053 European diagnostic criteria for polymyalgia rheumatica
  1. H Bird
  1. Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK


A variety of separate diagnostic criteria sets exist for polymyalgia rheumatica. These include those proposed in 1979,1 19812 and 1989.3 All differ slightly, the optimum criteria still having to be determined.

In 1997, the Polymyalgia Rheumatica Special Interest Group was established under the auspices of the EULAR Standing Committee for International Clinical Studies. Twenty participating centres throughout Europe between them promised to make available 200 new patients each year for the comparison of criteria sets. In parallel patients, where suitable, were recruited to a study to evaluate, for the first time, response criteria for this condition. It was hoped that both studies would lead to more accurate assessment of the several drugs then being claimed to be steroid sparing agents.

Collection of data terminated at the end of the year 2000. Although, as this abstract is prepared, some data sets are still awaited, it is likely that analysis will be based on data from 312 patients judged to have polymyalgia rheumatica recruited from 13 centres.

The vast majority of these patients, judged by a consensus of experts to have polymyalgia rheumatica, have provided a database for comparison of the various diagnostic criteria sets.

On the basis of this, optimum European diagnostic criteria will be proposed. Investigators are encouraged to use this in their research on polymyalgia rheumatica to further substantiate their reliability. A handout listing the new criteria will be available at the time of the presentation.


  1. Bird HA, et al. Ann Rheum Dis. 1979;38:434–9

  2. Jones JG, Hazleman BL. Ann Rheum Dis. 1981;40:1–5

  3. Nobunaga M, et al. Jpn J Med. 1989;28:452–6

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