Early Use of Infliximab Offers Benefits for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Patients

According to a story from Juvenile Arthritis News, a recent study from China has found that early treatment with infliximab (marketed as Remicade) can reduce inflammation and indicators of active disease in a twelve months treatment period that have the polyarticular form of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The researchers emphasize the prompt administration of the treatment upon disease onset is critical to maximize the duration of the drug’s effectiveness.

About Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a rare form of arthritis that primarily affects children and teens. While it is known that the disease is autoimmune in origin (meaning that the immune system begins to attack healthy tissue by mistake), what triggers the beginning of the autoimmune response is not known. Polyarticular disease indicates disease that affects at least five joints within the first six months. Any disease considered “idiopathic” does not have an identified cause. Some risk factors for juvenile idiopathic arthritis include being female and a family history of the disease. Symptoms include limping, vague flu-like symptoms, fatigue, loss of appetite, swelling of the joints, joint pain and stiffness, growth problems, and eye inflammation. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can also lead to complications such as vision problems, osteoporosis, and joint deformities and contractures. Treatment approaches often include physical therapy, NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and certain chemotherapy agents that suppress the immune system. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases. To learn more about juvenile idiopathic arthritis, click here.

Research Results

Polyarticular patients are less likely to respond well to treatment with disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) but they can still offer relief from symptoms and prevent disease progression. The study included 40 patients that were between the age of two and thirteen when diagnosed. Patients received a minimum of four doses during a three month period and were divided into three groups that differed based on when treatment began. Patients in all treatment groups saw benefit from treatment, but these benefits lasted longer (over a year) in the patients that received treatment within three months of diagnosis. 

In addition, this group was the only one to see greater benefits such as stable decreases in the number of involved joints over a year period. Check out the original study here.

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