Ongoing Disease Evident in Population-Based Study of JIA

Most children have mild ongoing disease with relapsing course; 58 percent receive medications

TUESDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of children from defined Nordic geographic areas with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) experience ongoing disease, although disease activity is mostly mild, according to a study published in the September issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Ellen Nordal, M.D., from the University of Tromsø in Norway, and colleagues described the characteristics, long-term course, and outcome of JIA in a population-based setting. A total of 500 children from defined Nordic geographic areas of Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway, in whom JIA was diagnosed between 1997 and 2000 according to International League of Association for Rheumatology (ILAR) criteria, were included in the analysis.

The investigators found that 88 percent of the children had repeated visits, with a last visit occurring at least seven years after onset (average 98 months). A total of 10.8 percent of the children had changes in the ILAR category. Extended oligoarthritis developed in 34.7 percent of the children with oligoarticular JIA. Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, including biologic medications, were used in 58 percent of the children. Although ongoing disease activity was mostly mild, some JIA-related damage was found in 22.9 percent of the children. At the last follow-up, 42.4, 8.9, and 48.7 percent of the children had remission off medication, remission on medication, and no remission, respectively. Patients with persistent oligoarticular JIA or systemic JIA had the highest rates of remission.

"In this long-term prospective study of JIA in a population-based Nordic setting, ongoing disease was evident in a majority of the children," the authors write.

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