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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Giant cell arteritis


Other Names for this Disease
  • GCA
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Cranial arteritis
  • Horton’s disease
  • Horton's arteritis
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Your Question

Are there alternate therapies to prednisone? 

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How might giant cell arteritis be treated?

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is typically treated with high doses of corticosteroids. Corticosteroids should be started promptly (perhaps even before the diagnosis is confirmed with a biopsy). If not treated promptly, the condition carries a small risk of blindness. The symptoms of GCA usually quickly disappear with treatment, but high doses of corticosteroids are typically maintained for 1 month. Once symptoms are gone and the sed rate is normal, there is much less risk of blindness and the corticosteroid dose may be gradually reduced.[1] Other medications that suppress the immune system are sometimes also needed.[2]
Last updated: 8/24/2015

Are there alternate therapies to prednisone? 

While corticosteroids remain the treatment of choice, due to their potential side-effects, other therapies have been considered. Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy (infliximab and etanercept) has been utilized in some patients with longstanding corticosteroid-resistant temporal arteritis who are at risk for adverse events. Other possible therapies include cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, dapsone, tocilizumab, rituximab, and abatacept, though none of these is routinely recommended.[3]

Last updated: 9/19/2011

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • GCA
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Cranial arteritis
  • Horton’s disease
  • Horton's arteritis
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.