JIA and Remission

JIA and Remission

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) has no cure, but it is possible for children to go into remission with the right treatment plan. When children are sick, their parents’ primary goal is to get them fully well again. As there is currently no cure, the goal for parents of children with arthritis shifts from a complete resolution to a long-term reprieve from symptoms, called remission.

What Is Remission?
In the past, the meaning of remission varied, depending on which research you read. Because the term was used inconsistently, parents and health care providers often misunderstood its meaning.  Remission comes in three phases: inactive disease, clinical remission on medication and clinical remission off medications.

Criteria for inactive disease includes:

  • NO joints with active arthritis.
  • NO fever, rash, serositis (inflammation of tissues lining the lungs, heart, or other organs).
  • NO active uveitis (inflammation of the eye).
  • NORMAL C-reactive proteins and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).
  • NO disease activity on the physician’s global assessment of disease activity.
JIA and Remission_Kids With Arthritis

How Likely Are Kids with JIA to Achieve Remission?
A child’s chances of going into remission are better now because of the medications used and early detection and treatment of JIA, plus the use of biologic drugs. Still, getting to remission can take some time. A significant number of children still have signs of active disease within the first two years after their diagnosis.

The likelihood of achieving remission depends on several factors—including how long a child has had JIA.
A USA report indicates, within the first year and a half after diagnosis, 7% of children achieve remission. Within 10 years after diagnosis, about 47% of children have reached that goal.

The type of arthritis a child has also plays a big role in determining whether they get to remission. Patients with oligoarticular arthritis have the best prognosis, and more long-term remission.

How Long Does Remission Last?
Nearly 90% of children with JIA achieve inactive disease, but the key is whether they can come off their medications and stay in remission.

The duration of remission hinges on the arthritis type and treatment, and it can vary depending on the child. JIA is a very unpredictable disease. There can be periods of active disease, or flares, and periods of inactive disease. This tends to vary a lot from child to child and even in the same child.

The Best Ways to Achieve Remission
Early diagnosis, aggressive treatment with drugs like biologics, methotrexate and steroids is critical to getting children with JIA into remission. Recent studies show that the earlier you treat, the better the outcomes.

Although there still isn’t a cure for JIA, the new generation of medications has dramatically improved the outlook for these children.

Biologics have absolutely revolutionized the way juvenile arthritis is treated. Children are doing much better with these newer medications and are able to stay active, play sports and participate in things they should be taking part in at their age.