Juvenile idiopathic arthritis: therapies in the 21st century

Bull NYU Hosp Jt Dis. 2007;65(3):205-11.


Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is an umbrella term for seven or more clinical patterns of arthritis of unknown cause in children. Until the mid-1980s, therapy for children, with what was then called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in the United States and juvenile chronic arthritis (JRA) elsewhere, consisted primarily of a small repertoire of antiinflammatory drugs and corticosteroids. However, only a small percentage of children respond to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs) alone; almost all will respond to corticosteroids, but with the cost of unacceptable toxicities. Juvenile arthritis was often a crippling disease. The controlled trial that demonstrated methotrexate therapy was safe and effective in children was the major advance of that decade. With the burgeoning understanding of the immune system and the advent of biologic agents in the 21st century, pediatric rheumatologists now have many more therapies to offer patients, with the expectation that their disease will be controlled. This review will discuss current therapy and the approach to treatment of JIA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / classification
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / immunology
  • Child
  • Etanercept
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein / therapeutic use
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Abatacept
  • tocilizumab
  • Etanercept
  • Methotrexate