According to Juvenile Arthritis News, treating juvenile idiopathic arthritis early helps reduce symptoms, nearly “inactivating” the condition. The Canadian Alliance of Pediatric Rheumatology Investigators (CAPRI) JIA Registry found that early treatment massively improves patient outcomes. You can read the full study in Rheumatology.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is an autoimmune disorder causing joint stiffness and inflammation in younger individuals. There are multiple types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, including undifferentiated, enthesitis-related, oligoarticular, systemic, psoriatic, polyarticular (rheumatoid factor negative), and polyarticular (rheumatoid factor positive).
Regardless of the type of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, they share many similarities. Joint pain is most common. Additional symptoms include joint swelling and stiffness, limited range of motion, fever, eye inflammation, swollen lymph nodes, and skin rash. Patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis often experience periods of flare-ups, followed by periods of remission. Learn more about juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
The Research Cohort
Over the past 3 years, the CAPRI JIA Registry has been collecting data on patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Patient data is sourced within 3 months of diagnosis. Researchers founded the registry after realizing that high costs and time constraints often prevent data collection from inception cohorts. Inception cohorts are a group of patients taking part in a study from disease onset and as it progresses. These cohorts offer researchers the unique opportunity to see what factors influence disease progress and severity.
However, the CAPRI JIA Registry allows for easier, more efficient, and less costly collection of data. Time commitments include:
- Data submission: 2-4 minutes
- Physician enrollment and questionnaires: 5-10 minutes
- Family/patient enrollment and questionnaires: 15 minutes
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Results
166 children enrolled in the study by the end of 2018. Approximately 101 patients (61%) were female. The median age of diagnosis was 9 years old, and most patients were diagnosed within 6 weeks prior. About 85 patients (51%) had oligoarticular JIA. 42 patients (25%) were taking a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). These slower-acting drugs do not treat symptoms. Instead, they treat the underlying cause of arthritis by reducing swelling and pain over a period of weeks to months. Learn more about disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.
The study followed patients for a period of 22.4 weeks. However, it took about 6 months for most patients to have clinically inactive JIA. Within a year of starting the study, 116 patients (70%) started on a DMARD and 58 patients (35%) were using biologic drugs like anti-TNF drugs to reduce inflammation. These are usually given to patients whose symptoms were not managed on prior treatments. About 80 patients (48%) experienced adverse reactions such as nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
Within one year, about 135 patients (81%) had inactive JIA. These results heavily improved upon those from a prior Canadian study that only saw 45% of its 1104 patients reaching inactive status within 1 year, and 78% within 2 years. Researchers believe early detection and treatment contributed to this change.
If you are located in Canada, and interested in participating in this research study, more information is available here.