All children living with JIA will receive medication, and careful management of a child’s medication regime is among the most important elements in the treatment of JIA.

Not everyone will find it easy to learn the names, uses, and effects of the many medications currently employed to treat JIA. But in approaching this topic it can help to keep in mind three basic facts.

JIA medications work.

During the past two decades, treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis has been transformed by the development of new medications. In most cases, these drugs—used singly and in combination—prove highly effective in relieving the pain associated with JIA and in minimising long-term damage to joints. The prognosis for children with JIA continues to improve with every advance in pharmacotherapy.

Not all medications work all the time in every case.

No two cases of JIA are identical, and medical staff will work with each child individually to determine the best course of treatment. What works well for one may not work for another. Again, drugs that work well for someone now may not work well later. Many children with JIA receive different drugs at different stages in the development of their condition.

All medications have side effects.

All medications have side effects, but the benefits outweigh any risk. It is not possible to avoid all of the unwanted effects of the medicines used to treat JIA, but with careful monitoring and managements these effects can be minimised. Although many children may experience some side effects (e.g., nausea with methotrexate), serious side effects are very rare.