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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Treatments

While there is no known cure for JIA, there are various strategies which zero on alleviating symptoms, prevent further joint destruction, and regain lost muscle strength and mobility. These include:


NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac (voltaren) and indomethacin are often prescribed to reduce pain, swelling and stiffness. These drugs have no long-term effect on the progression of the disease but will enable children with JIA to feel comfortable. 

Depending on the severity and progression of the disease, DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) are often prescribed. These include methotrexate and sulphasalazine. Low dose steroids are occasionally used while waiting for the DMARDs to take effect. A group of drugs called biologic agents can control JIA quickly and effectively. They are given as injections and are expensive. 

Your doctor is the best judge of which drug is best for your child.


Once inflammation is controlled, it is very important to rebuild muscles and ligaments. Exercise helps to build muscle strength which can help to stabilise the joints and recover their range of motion. Splints and other devices are sometimes useful as well. Children should be encouraged to be active as much as possible.

Most children can take part fully in physical activities and selected sports when their symptoms are under control. During a disease flare, limiting certain activities may be necessary. An acutely swollen and painful joint should be rested. Once the flare is over, the child can start regular activities again. Swimming is particularly useful because it uses many joints and muscles without putting weight on the joints.

Complementary and alternative therapies

Although there is little research to support alternative treatments such as acupuncture or massage, some people seem to benefit from them. Let your doctor know if you are using these as well.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Preparing for surgery

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Post-surgery care