The goals of pharmacotherapy in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) are to suppress chronic synovitis which causes potential cartilage destruction and deformities, to control the systemic effects of inflammation (including growth retardation and nutritional deficits), relieve pain and limit psychological impact of disease. Currently available methods include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, salicylates, naproxen, tolmetin, ibuprofen and indomethacin; disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as oral and injectable gold salts, hydroxychloroquine, penicillamine, oral and injectable methotrexate, and sulfasalazine; oral (daily or on alternate days), intravenous pulse or intra-articular corticosteroids; immunosuppresants, including cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, cyclosporin, and azathioprine; and gammaglobulin and other experimental therapies. Over the past 10 years, rheumatologists have adopted more aggressive pharmacological treatment of JRA. As time progresses and the safety of certain drugs such as methotrexate and sulfasalazine becomes clearer, wider and earlier use of these agents can be expected. Still the approach to treatment is a 'step by step' one, starting with the classical NSAIDs and ending with the DMARDs as needed.