Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Adult Treatments That May Be Used in Children
Children who have severe and persistent Reference juvenile idiopathic arthritis Opens New Window (JIA), during or even after treatment, may be considered for therapies that have been proved to be safe and effective for adult Reference rheumatoid arthritis Opens New Window or other Reference autoimmune disease Opens New Window but have yet to be fully studied for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Examples of such therapies include:
- Cyclosporine A. This is a cytotoxic medicine, which destroys certain cells. Cyclosporine A has been used extensively in people who have had organ transplants to prevent their bodies from rejecting the transplanted organ. Cyclosporine is not often used to treat children with JIA.Reference 1 It may be used to treat inflammatory eye disease, which is sometimes caused by JIA.Reference 2 The most common side effects are kidney damage, tremors, headache, high blood pressure, and excessive hair growth.
- Azathioprine (Azasan or Imuran). This cytotoxic medicine has been used to treat very few children with JIA. In a small study, some children also receiving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and corticosteroid treatment showed a small improvement in symptoms, compared with those who received NSAID, corticosteroid, and placebo treatment.Reference 1 Because little is known about risks of treatment and because its effectiveness is not well established, azathioprine should only be used for life-threatening illness that has not responded to other therapies.
- Reference Intravenous immunoglobulin Opens New Window (IVIG). This therapy has been helpful in the treatment of some immune system diseases. Small studies of IVIG have shown no effect in treating Reference systemic JIA Opens New Window but some short-term effectiveness in treating 75 out of 100 children with Reference polyarticular JIA Opens New Window. But this therapy is very costly and carries some risks, so it is not considered a practical treatment option for most children.Reference 1
- Leflunomide (Arava). This medicine blocks production of white blood cells, which are needed to cause inflammation in the joints, and thus interferes with disease progression. Studies show leflunomide to be effective in treating adults with rheumatoid arthritis.Reference 1 Leflunomide's side effects include diarrhea, liver inflammation, rash, and hair loss. Side effects will probably continue to limit leflunomide's use for JIA.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 5, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics