DMARDs Found to Be Effective Treatment for Juvenile Arthritis

But more research is needed to define long-term safety

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may be more effective than ibuprofen or steroids in controlling juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), but there is little strong evidence to support their long-term use, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Members of the Duke Evidence-based Practice Center evaluated data on JIA treatment options to compare DMARDs to conventional therapies, to compare various DMARDs with each other, and to evaluate tools used to measure clinical outcomes associated with the condition.

The researchers found that DMARDs have improved health outcomes for children with JIA, but that there are not enough data to compare DMARDS or classes of DMARDS. They also note that the tools currently available may not be able to accurately and sensitively capture and describe disease status.

"The pain associated with juvenile arthritis can be debilitating and even excruciating for young patients and is a major concern for both patients and their families," AHRQ director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., said in a statement. "Until a cure for juvenile arthritis is found, patients want the best, safest treatment to relieve that pain. This report will help patients choose the right treatment together with their clinician."

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