Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Medications
What to think about
Gold salts were one of the first treatments used for joint inflammation. You may still hear about them. But injected gold salts have been replaced by methotrexate for the treatment of JIA. Gold salts taken by mouth (oral) have not been shown to be effective for JIA.3
Some children with JIA gain significant benefit from early methotrexate treatment, and this treatment is becoming more common in an effort to prevent joint and eye damage. Early treatment with methotrexate is often used for polyarticular JIA.1
Biologic therapy is a newer option to treat JIA that doesn't respond to other treatments. Biologics such as etanercept have had some success in relieving symptoms and decreasing the number of flare-ups.
Combination therapy-such as using methotrexate with sulfasalazine, hydroxychloroquine, or etanercept-has been used on a limited basis to treat JIA. Most medical experience with combination therapy is with adults. Only children with severe JIA that has not improved with methotrexate or sulfasalazine are considered for combination treatment.
If your child is on aspirin therapy
Yearly flu shots are recommended for children who are on long-term aspirin therapy. Children on long-term aspirin therapy who get chickenpox or the flu are at risk for getting Reye syndrome. Although there is a risk, Reye syndrome is very rare. Very few cases have been reported in children with chronic arthritis who were being treated with aspirin. If your child has been exposed to chickenpox or the flu, talk to the doctor about giving your child acetaminophen to control pain and relieve fever until the incubation period, or the illness itself, has passed.