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Children who have juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) are first treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that often provide relief and reduce inflammation. NSAIDs are considered the first-line treatment for JIA. Second-line drug therapy—known interchangeably as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and as slow-acting antirheumatic drugs (SAARDs)—for JIA may be recommended when a child continues to have joint pain, swelling, or both despite rest, exercise, use of NSAIDs, and physical therapy.
DMARDs/SAARDs include azathioprine, cyclosporine, etanercept, methotrexate, and sulfasalazine.
DMARDs/SAARDs have a lot in common.
Although these medicines are often called "disease-modifying," it has been hard to prove that they truly prevent long-term joint damage. But they often relieve pain and swelling.
Last Revised: June 5, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
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