5915 Landerbrook Dr, Suite 110   |   Mayfield Heights, OH44124   |   Phone: 216-381-3333   |   Fax: 440-443-0700   |   ois@allergycleveland.com

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Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)

Any chronic medical condition can be difficult to deal with. When the illness affects your child, that makes it even harder to bear. Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA) can affect various aspects of your child’s life, so it’s only natural to search for ways to prevent the illness from progressing while also helping your child to find relief. Ohio Infusion Services knows that you could have concerns about treatment. Along with your rheumatologist, we can help you to stay informed about your child’s infusion therapy options. Together we can work to better manage their pJIA symptoms.

What Is Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a type of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that affects children and teens, and typically manifests itself in four or more joints during the first few months of illness. Like other forms of RA, pJIA is an autoimmune illness, meaning that the body’s immune system targets an attack on the body itself, in this case, focusing on the joints. As “idiopathic” suggests, there is no clearly accepted cause for pJIA, and it typically displays with symptoms common to arthritis in general:

  • joint swelling, stiffness, and inflammation
  • chronic pain

Related symptoms could also include:

  • Anemia
  • Enlarged liver, spleen, or lymph nodes
  • Joint damage
  • Inflammation of the lining of the heart or lungs

This form of arthritis is, by nature, slow and progressive. Because of this, it could have taken time for symptoms to fully manifest and for your child to be accurately diagnosed. You may have first noticed symptoms when your child was between 1 and 3 or 10 and 14 years old. pJIA more commonly affects girls than it does boys. Potential risks factors or causes might include:

  • Genetic inheritance from parents
  • A unique immune response to illness
  • An infection or other trigger that prompts an immune response

Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis is generally diagnosed after parents notice symptoms and talk to their child’s doctor. After the physician asks further questions, conducts an exam and runs relevant tests to get to the bottom of symptoms, they can also investigate family health history and look for specific markers in blood test results. An orthopedic surgeon may also want to take samples of the fluid or lining of your child’s joints to analyze in a lab. 

Infusion Therapy for Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Ohio Infusion Services offers treatment for pJIA using Orencia (abatacept), a prescription biologic medication that was developed to treat this condition in children. Orencia interrupts the inflammatory immune response by targeting T cells and limiting the inflammation signals that are normally sent between cells. This reduces the inflammatory response overall, resulting in decreased symptoms. Once you have a conclusive diagnosis, your doctor may suggest or prescribe Orencia infusion therapy. 

For children aged 6 and older, Orencia IV will then be administered intravenously, every four weeks, with unique dosage being determined by weight for each patient. For children between the ages of 2 and 6 who require treatment for pJIA, Orencia is approved for subcutaneous injections once every week.

Side Effects of Orencia Infusion Therapy for Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Every treatment carries its own risks, and while infusion therapy for pJIA using Orencia is considered to be safe, no medication will react the same way in everyone's body. 

Common Orencia side effects can include:

  • Headache
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Sore throat 
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain

Some signs that could indicate an allergic reaction to the treatment could be:

  • Hives
  • Swollen face, eyelids, lips, or tongue
  • Trouble breathing

Orencia can also make patients more susceptible to an infection. Flu-like symptoms, fever, skin that is warm or painful, or excessive tiredness could be signs of an infection. If you notice any reactions once you’ve left our treatment center, it is always a good idea to contact a trusted health professional. If you see signs of an allergic reaction or infection, it is wise to seek emergency medical attention.

Be sure to discuss all related risks and potential drug interactions or contraindications with your doctor before deciding on treatment.

What to Expect from Infusion Therapy for Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

When your child undergoes treatment at our facility, our on-site physician or nurse will be with you through their first treatment to ensure that the medication and dosage are well-tolerated. At subsequent sessions you will have full, private access to your own treatment suite and provided amenities for the duration of your infusion.

In clinical trials, the biologic IV infusion that Ohio Infusion Services uses to treat pJIA–Orencia–was proven to reduce symptoms. Many of the individuals included in this study tested positive for specific biomarkers–anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) and rheumatoid factor (RF)–making them dual seropositive. Testing can be done with your child’s doctor to see if they share that trait, which might help to determine their reaction to the treatment and disease outlook.

Children who receive Orencia treatment should expect to start feeling better and experiencing improved physical function in about 3 to 6 months. This is a general estimation–remember that each person’s body will react differently and timelines can vary. That said, lowered disease activity, reduction of further joint damage, and reduced symptoms were seen in the majority of cases. Seeking treatment for pJIA is an important step to improving quality of life.

If Your Doctor Has Prescribed orencia Infusion Therapy, Let Ohio Infusion Services Help You

We know that when your child is sick, life is more stressful than normal. That’s why we make it easy to work with us. All we need is a referral from your physician and a new patient form with your information. Our staff will then reach out to you to discuss your options. We work with most common insurance providers and can get your medication ordered and infusion scheduled as soon as we have your information on file. We are open Monday through Friday and have locations in Mayfield Heights and North Olmsted.

Our Ohio Infusion Services staff will do all they can to streamline this process and get your treatment underway. If you'd like to learn more or find out whether we can offer treatment for your specific condition, please call us at 216-381-3333 or submit an online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you and are here to help.