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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Relapsing polychondritis

Other Names for this Disease
  • Chronic atrophic polychondritis
  • Recurrent polychondritis
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How might relapsing polychondritis be treated?

The primary goals of treatment for individuals with relapsing polychondritis (RP) are to relieve present symptoms and to preserve the structure of the affected cartilage. The main treatment for RP is corticosteroid therapy with prednisone, with higher doses during flares and lower doses during periods of remission to decrease the severity, frequency and duration of relapses.[1] Other medications reported to control symptoms include dapsone, azathioprine, methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, and cyclosporin A. Methotrexate in conjunction with steroids has reportedly been found to significantly decrease the need for corticosteroids while controlling symptoms. Other medications that have shown benefit include anakinra, leflunomide, rituximab and anti–tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors (typically used to treat autoimmune diseases).[1] Individuals who develop severe heart or respiratory complications may require surgery.[2] No specific dietary recommendations have been noted.[1]

More detailed information about the management of RP is available on Medscape Reference's Web site and can be viewed by clicking here.
Last updated: 6/10/2013

  1. Compton N, Buckner JH, Harp KI, Raugi GJ. Polychondritis. Medscape Reference. January 19, 2012; Accessed 6/10/2013.
  2. Alexandros A. Drosos. Relapsing polychondritis. Orphanet Encyclopedia. October 2004; Accessed 12/19/2011.

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • lists trials that are studying or have studied Relapsing polychondritis. Click on the link to go to to read descriptions of these studies.
  • Research studies involving relapsing polychondritis are ongoing through the Translational Research Program at the Virgina Mason Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle Washington. Click on the link above to learn more about these studies.