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Biologics are used to treat moderate to severe JIA symptoms and to prevent joint damage, particularly in people who have had side effects or poor results from methotrexate treatment.
Biologics are usually used after nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and methotrexate have been tried. A biologic is often used at the same time as these other medicines, especially to treat polyarticular JIA and extended oligoarticular JIA.1
Biologics may also be tried when eye inflammation has not improved after trying other drugs such as corticosteroids and mydriatics.
Etanercept is most widely studied for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. In general, biologics improve symptoms, help prevent bone and cartilage damage, and may even help with healing.2
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine your child takes. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with the medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if your child has:
Call your doctor right away if your child has:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Warnings about serious side effects of biologics have been issued. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the drug’s manufacturers have warned about:
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. If your child takes medicine as your doctor suggests, it will improve your child's health and may prevent future problems. If your child doesn't take the medicines properly, his or her health (and perhaps life) may be at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
- Weiss JR, Ilowite NT (2005). Juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 52(2): 413–442.
- Soep JB, Hollister JR (2009). Juvenile idiopathic arthritis section of Rheumatic diseases. In WW Hay Jr et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment Pediatrics, 19th ed., chap. 27, pp. 796–799. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Last Revised: July 29, 2011
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