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Feature Article

Diagnosing and managing juvenile arthritis

Jane E Munro, Roger Allen

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Abstract

Early and aggressive therapy, predominantly outpatient based, enables most children and adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis to participate fully in childhood activities with the minimum of pain, if not being totally pain-free.

Key Points

  • A multidisciplinary approach is optimal for the management of children and adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
  • Commence therapy with NSAIDs. However, the early introduction of more aggressive therapeutic options is often required.
  • Manage pain and sleep disturbances.
  • Look for growth abnormalities, pubertal delay and disease- and treatment-related complications.
  • Arrange regular ophthalmology review.
  • Refer earlier rather than later, and to a paediatric rheumatologist if there is one in the local area or to a rheumatologist or paediatrician experienced in the condition.

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