Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arthritis (JRA) is a relatively common chronic childhood illness. It is
estimated to affect up to one quarter of a million children in this country
alone. The disease may begin at any age in childhood and for unknown reasons,
JRA is more prevalent among girls.
JRA, once believed
to be a single disease, is now thought to be several different diseases
affecting the joints of children. Since this recognition, several subtypes
of JRA have been identified. 40% of children with JRA have multiple joint
involvement. This particular group of children can develop significant
problems with arthritis in the neck. Another 40% of children with JRA
have less than four joints affected by the arthritis. This group of children
can develop problems with their eyes. Due to the high incidence of eye
involvement in children with JRA, these patients should always be examined
by an ophthalmologist. The remaining 20% of children with JRA not only
have symptoms of the joints, but also other organs. These children can
have fever, a rash or an enlarged liver or spleen.
The overall outlook for children with JRA is good. Over 75% of all children with arthritis will eventually enter a remission. Major goals of therapy include joint inflammation reduction, joint deformity prevention, muscle strength maintenance and joint function preservation.
All medications have potential side effects, risks and interactions with other medications as well as over the counter drugs. Not all medications are right for all patients. You should always check with your physician or health care provider prior to the use of any medication.