Arthritis is a condition that affects roughly 24% of all American adults. However, arthritis can also be an issue in children, and it is estimated that nearly 300,000 children in the U.S. have juvenile arthritis. Since July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, we wanted to take a closer look at juvenile arthritis, specifically juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), and discuss how ContinuumRx can treat JIA patients from home or at one of our infusion locations.
Causes and Symptoms
Simply put, JIA is an autoimmune or autoinflammatory condition caused when the immune system mistakes the tissues and cells surrounding joints for germs or viruses and attacks them. The exact reason JIA occurs is unknown, but it is the most common type of arthritis in children under sixteen. The severity of JIA differs by case, but the following symptoms are generally present in individuals with the disease:
- Rashes, fevers, or swollen lymph nodes
While these symptoms are common for any arthritis patient, depending on the severity, they can cause issues with joint growth and development and inflict long-term damage on juvenile patients.
There are various types of treatments for JIA, and some physicians may prescribe infusion therapy to help improve symptoms and prevent further joint damage.
One source of inflammation in patients with JIA is an overproduction of a hormone, tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Humira targets and blocks TNF-alpha, relieving symptoms of pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Humira can be administered in children two years or older and is commonly used to treat JIA patients and adults with arthritis.
Rituxan works differently from other arthritis infusion drugs since it is not a TNF inhibitor. Instead, Rituxan or rituximab works by depleting levels of B-cells in the body which is a cell type that is thought to cause swelling and joint pain. In a 2018 study, it was found that rituximab was a potentially effective treatment method for patients with JIA that did not respond to TNF inhibitor therapy.
Kineret has been shown to be effective as an early treatment for JIA. This medication works by blocking the activity of interleukin-1 (IL-1), a protein that causes inflammation. In addition to JIA, Kineret is often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in adults, neonatal-onsite multisystem inflammatory disease, and deficiency of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist.
Orencia can be used in children aged two or older to treat JIA. Orencia works by binding to two proteins that activate T cells which are primarily responsible for attacking joints in arthritis patients. These proteins are CD80 and CD86 and are located on the surface of specific immune cells. By blocking these proteins, Orencia decreases T cell proliferation and can reduce inflammation and other symptoms in patients with JIA and other forms of arthritis.
Since JIA is so complex, a physician will determine the best course of treatment for the patient. No matter which infusion medication your child is prescribed, ContinuumRx can help save you time and money by delivering your therapy from home or one of our comfortable and conveniently located infusion suites. Contact us today to learn more!