If you have JIA that doesn’t get better with other drugs, and if only a few joints are affected, your doctor may suggest that you have corticosteroid joint injections. The corticosteroid is injected directly into the joints that are inflamed. This is also called an intra-articular injection.
Why are corticosteroid joint injections used?
Joint injections are helpful because the corticosteroid can be placed right into the inflamed joint. Because the medicine is put right where it needs to be, it does not travel through the rest of the body. Therefore, we do not see the same side effects that are seen with corticosteroids taken by mouth or IV.
The benefits of joint injections are:
• They have a low risk of side effects
• They work quickly to control active inflammation in a joint
• The initial improvement in your symptoms is often dramatic. It occurs within days to a week following the joint injection
• Injected joints may stay better for one to three months or even longer.
How are joint injections done?
Your rheumatologist will carefully inject the corticosteroid medication into your joint. This procedure can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your needs and what the doctor thinks.
Sometimes the joint injection may be done in the clinic or in a special procedure room. Sometimes it is done in an X-ray or ultrasound room. The X-ray or ultrasound is used to make sure the joint is injected correctly.
Your doctor may use a pain medication, called a local anaesthetic, to numb your skin before the injection. You might need a medicine called a sedative to help you relax for the joint injection procedure. If many joints need to be injected at one time, this may be done while you are asleep under general anaesthesia.
|Generic name||Most common brand name||How it is given||How the medication comes||Side effects|
|Triamcinolone hexacetonide||Lederlon||Joint injection 1-3 times per year, as needed||Injection||Possible side effects
|Triamcinolone acetonide||Kenalog||Joint injection 1-3 times per year, as needed||Injection|
|Methyl-prednisolone||Depo-Medrol||Joint injection 1-3 times per year, as needed||Injection|
Important safety point about corticosteroid joint injection(s)
If, within 24 to 48 hours following a joint injection, you develop fever, redness, or increasing pain over the joint injection site, see your doctor immediately to ensure there is no infection in your joint.