Development of practice and consensus-based strategies including a treat-to-target approach for the management of moderate and severe juvenile dermatomyositis in Germany and Austria

Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2018 Jun 25;16(1):40. doi: 10.1186/s12969-018-0257-6.


Background: Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is the most common inflammatory myopathy in childhood and a major cause of morbidity among children with pediatric rheumatic diseases. The management of JDM is very heterogeneous. The JDM working group of the Society for Pediatric Rheumatology (GKJR) aims to define consensus- and practice-based strategies in order to harmonize diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of JDM.

Methods: The JDM working group was established in 2015 consisting of 23 pediatric rheumatologists, pediatric neurologists and dermatologists with expertise in the management of JDM. Current practice patterns of management in JDM had previously been identified via an online survey among pediatric rheumatologists and neurologists. Using a consensus process consisting of online surveys and a face-to-face consensus conference statements were defined regarding the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of JDM. During the conference consensus was achieved via nominal group technique. Voting took place using an electronic audience response system, and at least 80% consensus was required for individual statements.

Results: Overall 10 individual statements were developed, finally reaching a consensus of 92 to 100% regarding (1) establishing a diagnosis, (2) case definitions for the application of the strategies (moderate and severe JDM), (3) initial diagnostic testing, (4) monitoring and documentation, (5) treatment targets within the context of a treat-to-target strategy, (6) supportive therapies, (7) explicit definition of a treat-to-target strategy, (8) various glucocorticoid regimens, including intermittent intravenous methylprednisolone pulse and high-dose oral glucocorticoid therapies with tapering, (9) initial glucocorticoid-sparing therapy and (10) management of refractory disease.

Conclusion: Using a consensus process among JDM experts, statements regarding the management of JDM were defined. These statements and the strategies aid in the management of patients with moderate and severe JDM.

Keywords: Antirheumatic agents; Child; Comparative effectiveness research; Consensus; Dermatomyositis; Diagnosis.

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Austria
  • Child
  • Consensus
  • Dermatomyositis / diagnosis
  • Dermatomyositis / drug therapy*
  • Disease Management
  • Germany
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids