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A qualitative study of patient perspectives related to glucocorticoid therapy in polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis

Authors Hoon E, Ruediger C, Gill TK, Black RJ, Hill CL

Received 30 April 2019

Accepted for publication 25 July 2019

Published 29 August 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 189—198


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Chuan-Ju Liu

Elizabeth Hoon,1 Carlee Ruediger,2,3 Tiffany K Gill,2 Rachel J Black,2,4 Catherine L Hill2–4

1School of Public Health, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia; 2Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia; 3Rheumatology Unit, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville, SA 5011, Australia; 4Rheumatology Unit, The Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

Correspondence: Catherine L Hill
Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Level 7, SAHMRI, North Tc, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

Objective: To determine patient experiences of glucocorticoid (GC) therapy in polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and giant cell arteritis (GCA).
Methods: Patients with a diagnosis of PMR or GCA were invited to participate in this qualitative study that used focus groups to explore: symptoms onset, process of diagnosis, treatment, adverse effects (AEs), and ongoing condition/s management. Data were transcribed verbatim and a “framework” approach was used for analysis and interpretation.
Results: Fourteen patients participated. Weight gain, changes in face and neck shape, and bruising were commonly reported and impacts of these AEs on quality of life were highlighted. Dealing with uncertainties associated with long-term experiences of the condition/s and cycles of GC treatment were raised as were workload demands for patients in managing both the condition and other people’s expectations and recommendations related to GC therapy.
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that the patient experience of GC use is poorly captured by usual physician monitoring for GC AEs. These findings suggest that development of a patient-reported outcome instrument for inflammatory conditions treated with GCs is required.

Keywords: patient experience, polymyalgia rheumatica, giant cell arteritis, adverse effects, glucocorticoid therapy

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