Steroids (also called corticosteroids) are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that quickly and effectively reduce swelling in joints.

While they are not suitable for long-term treatment of JIA, they frequently are used (often in combination with other types of drugs) as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Steroids can be given in different ways:

  • By local injection: Local injections of Triamcinolone Hexacetonide are the most common form of steroid treatment for children with JIA. This is a very safe and effective way of treating inflamed joints. Depending on your child’s age and the number of joints being treated, these injections can be done under local or general anaesthetic.


  • By mouth: Prednisolone can be given in tablet or liquid form by mouth. This is most commonly used at the start of treatment or during a flare to settle things down. 
  •  By infusion into a vein: Infusions of steroid (Methylprednisolone) are also used to settle things down quickly if your child is unwell or has many inflamed joints.


Side effects

If taken only intermittently and for a short time, steroids normally do not cause significant side effects. Those required to undergo a longer course of steroid treatment, however, may experience weight gain, mood swings, acne, excess hair growth, or other effects. The benefits of steroid treatments generally outweigh such unwanted effects, which settle when medication is stopped.

It is important to note that it is never advisable to stop steroids abruptly; any change to prescribed steroid treatments should be overseen by a doctor.