How PJIA is diagnosed
Doctors can diagnose polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, or PJIA, using a number of methods, including identifying the key signs and symptoms.
It’s important to know that there is no special test to diagnose PJIA. Many times, a doctor will look at all the signs and symptoms your child has, and then rule out various diseases before reaching a diagnosis. This can take time and may involve many other tests, so please be patient with your child’s doctor—he or she only wants to be absolutely sure the diagnosis of PJIA is correct.
And keep in mind, your child's signs and symptoms may come and go, and they might not all happen at the same time. Your child's doctor will ultimately be able to determine whether your child has PJIA.
Your child has options. But which one is the right one?
Many medicines are available to your child with PJIA. Some are simple pain relievers; others actually change how the disease acts on the body. So it’s important to ask your child’s doctor what’s best for his or her PJIA. Sometimes the doctor will use more than one treatment for the pain, swelling, and other symptoms your child may be having.
Typical medications include:
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs, such as methotrexate
Doctors prescribe DMARDs with NSAIDs when NSAIDs alone aren’t giving the relief their patients want. They may also recommend steroids or biologics.
What are biologics?
Biologics are another class of treatments used for different kinds of arthritis. These are specially designed to target the immune system because it may not be working properly in children living with PJIA. One example of a biologic is ACTEMRA, a prescription medicine that targets an immune system messenger called interleukin-6 (IL-6). Biologics may have side effects, such as the risk of infection, which can sometimes be fatal, or severe allergic reactions.