It is difficult to predict the clinical course of relapsing polychondritis (RPC) because there is a marked interpatient variability.
- For patients with more mild disease, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen/Motrin, naproxen/Naprosyn, and others, can be helpful to control the inflammation.
- Usually, however, cortisone-related medications (steroids such as prednisone and prednisolone) are required. High-dose steroids are frequently necessary initially, especially when the eyes or breathing airways are involved. Moreover, most patient require steroids for long-term use.
- Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) has shown promise as a treatment for relapsing polychondritis in combination with steroids as well as a maintenance treatment.
- Other medications that have been tried in small numbers of patients with some reports of success include cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), dapsone, azathioprine (Imuran), penicillamine (Depen, Cuprimine), cyclosporine and combinations of these drugs with steroids.