Treatment for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

The treatments for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis are aimed at helping the child to live a normal life with as little disability as possible. Doctors usually use a combination of treatment approaches to alleviate the symptoms, improve functioning and prevent complications. The different treatment approaches include the following:

  • Medications: To relieve the pain and discomfort caused by juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, pain relievers may be prescribed. In some cases, medications to restrict the spread of the disease are required. The different types of medications used commonly in the treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis include:
    1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are helpful in alleviating joint pain and swelling. They may cause certain side effects such as liver problems and stomach trouble.
    2. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are required when NSAIDs are not effective in reducing the pain and swelling. They are also used to slow down the progression of the condition. They may cause side effects like nausea and may affect liver function so it is important to discuss all the possible side effects with your doctor.
    3. Tumor necrosis factor blockers help to reduce swelling, stiffness and pain. However these medications may elevate the risk of infection. They may also pose a slight risk of developing certain types of cancers.
    4. Immune suppressants are used to suppress the over-activity of the immune system. They may increase the risk of infections and in rare cases, cancer.
    5. Corticosteroids are used to reduce the symptoms and also to prevent complications. They may be administered in the form of oral medications or injections. These medications may hamper normal growth and may place the child at a risk of infections. Hence they are usually used for only short periods of time.
  • Therapy: Children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis usually need to work with a physical therapist so that their joints stay flexible and their muscle tone and movement improves. A physical therapist will also recommend certain exercises which are appropriate for the child. In some cases, the therapist may recommend the use of splints or supports for the affected joint.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgical procedures may become necessary to enhance joint positioning and functioning.

  1. Edward H. Giannini, James T. Cassidy, Earl J. Brewer, Alexander Shaikov, Alexei Maximov, Nina Kuzmina, Comparative efficacy and safety of advanced drug therapy in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, Volume 23, Issue 1, August 1993, Pages 34-46, ISSN 0049-0172, 10.1016/S0049-0172(05)80025-3.
  2. Rosario Di Toro, Cesare Polito, Nutrition in Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Nutrition Research, Volume 17, Issue 4, April 1997, Pages 741-758, ISSN 0271-5317, 10.1016/S0271-5317(97)00044-4.