Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Giant Cell Arteritis

Giant cell arteritis frequently causes headaches, scalp tenderness, jaw pain and vision problems.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Giant Cell Arteritis

Giant cell arteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the arteries.

Insight:

  • Most often, giant cell arteritis affects the arteries in the head, especially those in the temples. For this reason, giant cell arteritis is sometimes called temporal arteritis.
  • Giant cell arteritis frequently causes headaches, scalp tenderness, jaw pain, and vision problems. Untreated, it can lead to blindness.
  • Symptoms include persistent head pain, scalp tenderness, jaw pain, fever, fatigue, unintended weight loss, vision loss, and sudden permanent loss of vision.
  • Risk factors include age, sex, race or geographic region, polymyalgia rheumatica, and family history.
  • Diagnosis may include erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein.
  • Prompt treatment with corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, usually relieves symptoms of giant cell arteritis and might prevent loss of vision.
  • But even with treatment, relapses are common.

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