Not all children with JIA will require treatment with so-called ‘biologic’ drugs. But for those whose arthritis cannot be fully managed with other medications, biologics can play a crucial role in their treatment.

Biologic drugs are given by infusion into a vein or subcutaneous injection, and are most effective when given in combination with Methotrexate. They work by targeting specific components of the immune system.


For all types of JIA:

    • TNF (Tumour Necrosis Factor) inhibitors: Adalimumab, Etanercept, and Inflixumab
    • Interleukin-6 inhibitor: Tocilizumab
    • T-cell co-stimulation inhibitor: Abatacept
  • For systemic-onset JIA: Interleukin-1 (Anakinra) and Interleukin-6 (Tocilizumab) inhibitors
  • For psoriatic and enthesitis related JIA: Interleukin-17 inhibitor (Secukinumab)
  • For polyarthritis JIA: B-cell inhibitor (Rituximab)

In many cases, a child who initially responds well to one biologic therapy may later need to be put on a different one. Finding the best treatment at any given time requires close communication between patient and medical staff.

Side effects

All biologics are delivered by infusion or subcutaneous injection, and some children develop reactions to the medication at the injection site. Other side effects are uncommon, but include a small increased risk of infection.