Overview of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) medications

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead


There is no known cure for JIA. However, there are safe and effective medications to help control the disease. These medications can help:

  • decrease the inflammation
  • decrease pain and swelling
  • make it easier for you to stay active and exercise
  • prevent or lessen damage to your joints.

In this section, you will learn about the medications that may be prescribed for JIA.

A medication program will be designed by your doctor specifically for you. The choice of medications to use is very specific to you. It will take into account things like the type of JIA you have, how severe the JIA is, and other medical issues you may have.

Things to remember about your medications

  • The medication needs to be taken regularly, the way the doctor prescribes it for you. This is the only way to be sure that you will get the best results from it.
  • The medication dose prescribed for you is based on your weight and how severe the JIA is. Always take your medication as prescribed. Do not change the dosage without talking to your doctor first. For some medications, such as corticosteroids, you could become ill if you change the dose on your own.
  • Most JIA medications will need a prescription from your doctor. However, some of them do not need a prescription. These are called over-the-counter medications.
  • Many young people with JIA need to take more than one medication at the same time. This is called combination therapy. This is used to better control JIA when one medication is not enough to do the job.
  • JIA medications need to be taken for a long time to be effective. JIA doesn’t “go away” in a few months. You will probably need to take medications for many months or years.
  • All medications can cause side effects. You will learn about the most common side effects later in this session. It is important to discuss the different side effects of your medications with your doctor. He or she can provide you with some ways to deal with the side effects.
  • Make sure to tell your doctor about all treatments that you are taking for JIA or for any other problem. Your doctor needs to know about any prescription and over-the-counter drugs you are taking. You also need to tell your doctor if you are taking other remedies, such as vitamins, minerals, supplements, or naturopathic or homeopathic therapies.
  • Make sure you tell your doctor about any other medical conditions you might have, such as asthma.

Different names for your medicines

Did you know that there are often two different names for each of your medications? The generic name is the name of the active ingredient in the drug. The brand name is given to the drug by the company that produces it.

If two or more companies make the same drug, it may be available under different brand names or under the generic name. The active ingredient is the same for all versions of the drug. For example, ibuprofen is a generic name and Advil and Motrin are the brand names for ibuprofen.

Last updated: January 31st 2017