Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (jia)

Hala Etayari
Libyan board of pediatrics
Tripoli Children Hospital, Tripoli/Libya

First Created: 04/09/2001  Last Updated: 05/11/2016

Patient Education

JIA - Treatment

The goals of JIA treatment are to achieve long-lasting remission, prevent joint destruction and deformities, and maintain growth and development.

Achieving these goals requires a multidisciplinary approach with the cooperation of rheumatologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapist,s, and ophthalmologists. This is the best way to meet the child's medical, psychological, and educational needs.

Nowadays with a better understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease and the advent of biological drugs as a new modality of treatment, JIA patients have more options for treatment and better outcomes.

Here are the commonly used drugs in treating JIA:


They are the first-line drugs used in the treatment of JIA and they are well tolerated in children. Naproxen is one of the most commonly used agents. Their side effects include gastrointestinal symptoms as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, and pseudoporphyria rash.

Disease-modifying agents (DMARDs):

Methotrexate is the most commonly used DMARD with good efficacy, and it is well tolerated. Its side effects include gastric upset, elevated liver enzymes, and pancytopenia. Patients should be monitored periodically for these side effects by CBC and liver function tests.2,6

When cost, availability, or concerns regarding lack of long term outcome data with biologics are raised, sulfasalazine or Leflunomide may be considered as an alternative or additional therapy.

Biological drugs:

These agents are monoclonal antibodies developed to target special pathological processes (Anti TNF, Anti IL1, and Anti IL6). They are used as a third-line treatment when first and second-line treatment fails to control the disease.

Before using them patients should be screened for latent TB by chest x-ray and tuberculin test and CBC and liver function should be monitored throughout the treatment period.

Methotrexate and biological agents lower body immunity and should be withheld during infections.


They are usually used as a bridge therapy to help induce remission before the DMARDs started to take effect and maintain the remission.

JIA - Conclusion

JIA is a heterogeneous group of diseases sharing in common the presence of chronic arthritis and vary in age of onset, clinical manifestations, and outcome.

A better understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease leads to the development of newer modalities for treatment hence improving the outcome of patients.

1. Petty R, Southwood T, Manners P, Baum J, Glass D, Goldenberg J, et al. ILAR criteria.pdf. J Rheumatol. 2004;2(31).
2. Boros C, Whitenhead B. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
3. Petty RE, Laxer RM, Lindsley CB, Wedderburn L, Cassidy JT. Textbook of pediatric rheumatology [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2016 May 9]. Available from: https://www.clinicalkey.com/dura/browse/bookChapter/3-s2.0-C20120003493
4. Patel H, Goldstein D. Pediatric uveitis. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2003;50(1):125–36.
5. Huang J-L. New advances in juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Chang Gung Med J. 2012;35(1):1–14.
6. Naz S, Mushtaq A, Rehman S, Bari A, Maqsud A, Khan MZ, et al. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. J Coll Physicians Surg--Pak JCPSP. 2013 Jun;23(6):409–12.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) https://www.pediatriconcall.com/show_article/default.aspx?main_cat=pediatric-rheumatology&sub_cat=juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis-jia&url=juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis-jia-patient-education 2016-05-11
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