Arteritis - temporal; Cranial arteritis; Giant cell arteritis
The goal of treatment is to reduce tissue damage that may occur due to lack of blood flow.
Your doctor will likely prescribe corticosteroids taken by mouth. Corticosteroids are often started even before a biopsy confirms the diagnosis. Aspirin may also be recommended.
Most people begin to feel better within a few days after starting treatment. However, you need to take medications for 1 - 2 years. The dose of corticosteroids is slowly reduced.
Taking corticosteroid medications for this long can make bones thinner and increase the chance of a fracture. As a result, the following should be started right away:
Other medications that suppress the immune system are sometimes needed.
Most people make a full recovery, but long-term treatment (for 1 to 2 years or longer) may be needed. The condition may return at a later date.
Possible complications, especially if the condition is not treated properly or promptly, include:
Side effects from steroid or immune-suppressing medications may also occur.
Call your health care provider if you have a persistent throbbing headache and other symptoms of temporal arteritis.
Hellmann DB. Giant cell arteritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and Takayasu's arteritis. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris ED Jr., et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 81.
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