Drug Discov Ther. 2017;11(4):223-225. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2017.01040)

Successful treatment with clarithromycin and/or tacrolimus for two patients with polymyalgia rheumatica.

Ohe M, Shida H, Horita T, Oku K


Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory rheumatic disease in the elderly. Glucocorticoids (GCs) remain the mainstay of treatment. GC therapy usually dramatically improves the clinical picture, but approximately one-third of patients experience disease recurrence when the dose is reduced. Moreover, long-term use of GCs causes adverse reactions. Macrolide antibiotics have anti-inflammatory action. Several recent studies have reported the successful treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and PMR treated using clarithromycin (CAM), a macrolide, because of its anti-inflammatory action. Tacrolimus (TAC) has been indicated as a treatment for RA in patients who failed to respond to methotrexate. Recently, a case of RA was successfully treated using CAM and TAC according to one report. Reported here are two cases of PMR treated using CAM and/or TAC. Case 1: A 73-year-old man suffering from PMR was successfully treated with prednisolone (PSL) and CAM. Because his muscle pain disappeared, CAM was discontinued. However, the pain returned after that discontinuation, so CAM was successfully administered again. Case 2: An 83-year-old man suffering from PMR was successfully treated with PSL and CAM. Because muscle pain disappeared, the CAM dosage was halved. The pain returned after the dosage was reduced, so the CAM dosage was successfully resumed and the PSL dosage was reduced. When the PSL dosage was reduced, muscle pain recurred. Because the PSL and CAM dosages were not successfully increased, TAC was also administered and was found to be effective at treating muscle pain. These two cases suggest that CAM and/or TAC are effective at treating PMR.

KEYWORDS: Polymyalgia rheumatica, clarithromycin, tacrolimus

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