Thank you very much for the HealthUnlocked network helping PMR and GCA patients. This is the first time I am posting a question, having benefited from the encouraging answers provided by people who shared their experiences in this wonderful network. I am grateful for the kind people who often gave helpful answers to questions.
Currently I have some issues that I need your advice.
I was diagnosed with PMR in July 2019, initial prednisone dose given was 15mg. It worked. After a month, my rheumatologist (rhm.) told me to lower dosage to 12.5mg. I had a relapse. He prescribed Methotrexate to help, which I took for a few weeks but it didn't work for me. I stopped. Last May 2020, I slowly tap down prednisone to 7.5mg and had a hard a time lowering down to 7 mg. So my rheumatologist prescribed Leflunomide. After I took for two days, I had some side effects such us fatigue and difficulty in breathing, so my rhm. asked me to stop taking it.
In January 2021, I went to see my rhm. as I had a lot of pain. He diagnosed my PMR had flared up and gave me a shot of prednisone. I felt great for 10 days, living like a normal person. Then the pain gradually started to increase.
After one more month, I went back to see my rhm. with pretty bad pain. He did a blood test for me. My CRP is 26, ESR is 63. He told me he doesn't know what to do with my situation. Late, he prescribed hydroxychloroquine to help. Now I just took it for one day. I had a lot of pain these two weeks, not just on the normal places up the back, shoulders, elbows, neck, knees, hips, but severe pain on the neck, shoulders, back of head connecting to neck, middle of back, spreading like everywhere (no jaw pain, no scalp tenderness).
So my questions are :
1.Does hydroxychloroquine help control PMR and lower Prednisone?
2. Should I go back to 7.5mg or higher dose of prednisone? (I had a few weeks improvement at 7.5mg , but it wasn’t good after that, CRP and ESR was normal).
3: What I should do to prevent GCA at this point?
Thank you for your advice.