Objective: To characterize articular and systemic inflammatory activity in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), identifying remission status with and without medication.
Methods: A total of 165 JIA cases, followed for a mean period of 3.6 years, were reviewed in order to characterize episodes of inactivity and clinical remission on and off medication. The resulting data were analyzed by means of descriptive statistics, survival analysis, by comparison of Kaplan-Meier curves, log rank testing and binary logistic regression analysis in order to identify predictive factors for remission or persistent activity.
Results: One hundred and eight of the cases reviewed fulfilled the inclusion criteria: 57 patients (52.7%) exhibited a total of 71 episodes of inactivity, with a mean of 2.9 years per episode; 36 inactivity episodes (50.7%) resulted in clinical remission off medication, 35% of which were of the persistent oligoarticular subtype. The probability of clinical remission on medication over 2 years was 81, 82, 97 and 83% for cases of persistent oligoarticular, extended oligoarticular, polyarticular and systemic JIA, respectively. The probability of clinical remission off medication 5 years after onset of remission was 40 and 67% for patients with persistent oligoarticular and systemic JIA, respectively. Persistent disease activity was significantly associated with the use of an anti-rheumatic drug combination. Age at JIA onset was the only factor that predicted clinical remission (p = 0.002).
Conclusions: In this cohort, the probability of JIA progressing to clinical remission was greater for the persistent oligoarticular and systemic subtypes, when compared with polyarticular cases.