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Managing recurrent pericarditis starts with a team approach

If it seems like you may have recurrent pericarditis, you may need to see a number of different healthcare specialists, though most of your care may be given by a cardiologist (heart specialist).

Depending on your situation, you may also see:

Rheumatologist icon

A rheumatologist: a doctor who treats autoimmune conditions, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis—and has a special understanding of autoinflammation.

Immunologist icon

An immunologist:
a specialist in infectious diseases.

Radiologist icon

A radiologist:
an expert in different imaging tests.

Clinical social worker icon

A clinical social worker or other therapist: specialists who can help you cope with stress.

This not a complete list. Who you see will depend on your medical history and the healthcare providers available in your area.


Treatment options for pericarditis

Treatment depends on whether your pericarditis is a first or one-time episode, or you have recurrent pericarditis.


  • Often the first treatment given for first or one-time episodes and recurrent pericarditis
  • NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) reduce inflammation and ease pain, but do not specifically block the interleukin-1 (IL-1) cycle of autoinflammation that causes recurrent pericarditis


  • Used for first or one-time episodes and recurrent pericarditis
  • Relieves inflammation, but does not specifically block the IL-1 cycle of autoinflammation that causes recurrent pericarditis


  • Used for first or one-time episodes and recurrent pericarditis
  • Often used if other treatments do not work
  • Reduce inflammation (and the pain it can cause), but do not specifically block the IL-1 cycle of autoinflammation that causes recurrent pericarditis
  • Carry the risk of side effects that can make recurrent pericarditis harder to manage
  • May contribute to recurrent pericarditis lasting longer


  • Used for recurrent pericarditis
  • Stops the cycle of autoinflammation that drives recurrent pericarditis
  • May prevent flares from coming back
  • May be used before or instead of corticosteroids

Please note that side effects may occur with any type of medication (prescription or over-the-counter).

Discuss possible side effects with your healthcare provider.

Recurrent pericarditis is caused by an ongoing cycle of autoinflammation.

Did you know?

Treatments that only relieve the symptoms of a pericarditis flare don’t treat the cause of recurrent pericarditis—and may not stop flares from coming back.

Lifestyle modifications

There are actions you can take that may help relieve your symptoms or possibly reduce the risk of recurrent pericarditis.


Along with your healthcare provider’s instructions, these tips may also help you manage your symptoms:


Discuss management options with your healthcare provider to determine what works best for you. Ask about:

Lungs icon

Breathing exercises (shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure).

Meditation icon

Meditation (also shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure).

Bed icon

Finding ways to lessen pain when lying down, such as elevating your head and chest using a wedge under your mattress or using an adjustable bed.


People who suffer from recurrent pericarditis may experience different triggers. Some individuals have reported that the following precautions may help avoid triggering flares. This is not a comprehensive list.

You may wish to talk to your healthcare provider about limiting:

Alcohol icon


Excess heat icon

Excess heat

Stress icon


Elevated heart rate icon

Periods of elevated heart rate


Exercise may trigger a flare, and physicians have advised individuals experiencing a flare to keep their heart rate under 100 beats per minute with moderate activity. Some individuals with pericarditis have reported using a fitness tracker to monitor and record their heart rate.

You may want to track your triggers.

If you have repeated pericarditis flares, consider what may have triggered them. By identifying and tracking your triggers, you may be able to avoid future flares.

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