What is the duration of corticosteroid therapy for giant cell arteritis (GCA) (temporal arteritis)?

Updated: Sep 03, 2020
  • Author: Mythili Seetharaman, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
  • Print

No absolute guidelines exist as to the length of treatment with corticosteroids for GCA. [95] It may be reasonable to maintain the patient on treatment for 2 years to lessen the chances for relapses. Even then, relapses have been reported. [146] Some patients may need treatment for as long as 5 years. Because the incidence of new visual damage appears to decrease with disease duration, consider a repeat temporal artery biopsy before restarting corticosteroids in patients who relapse after 18-24 months.

Long-term corticosteroid therapy has frequent and potentially serious consequences, including diabetes mellitus, vertebral compression fractures, steroid myopathy, steroid psychosis, and immunosuppression-related infections. [147] Indeed, the cumulative morbidity associated with long-term therapy often exceeds that of the underlying disease.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!