Other questions about JIA medications

You and your child may still have other questions about JIA medications. This section will answer some of the questions you may have. Talk to your child’s doctor for more information.

What about vaccinations?

We need vaccines to help prevent infections. JIA itself does not cause problems with the vaccines. However, JIA medications can reduce the protection a child will get from vaccines. Some JIA medications can limit the type of vaccine that a child can safely receive. It may be risky to take certain vaccines.

Drugs that are safe with ALL vaccines

NSAIDs, sulfasalazine, and hydroxychloroquine do not change your immune system. ALL ROUTINE VACCINES ARE SAFE.

Drugs that are safe with SOME vaccines

Corticosteroids, methotrexate, leflunomide, cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, cyclosporine and biologics DO change your immune system


• Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis
• Inactivated polio
• Pneumococcus (Prevnar 13 or Pneumovax 23)
• Meningococcus (MenACWY (Nimenrix))
• Hemophilus influenza type B
• Influenza (flu) vaccine (injection)
• Hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis A vaccine
• Gardasil: the vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV).

THE FOLLOWING ARE LIVE VACCINES. They are considered UNSAFE with these drugs.
THESE VACCINES SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN until these medications have been stopped for at least one to two months:

• Measles, mumps, rubella
• Oral polio vaccine
• Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
• Influenza (flu) vaccine given as a spray into your nose
• BCG (the vaccine for tuberculosis)
• Yellow fever.

If you have any questions about the safety of a vaccine, ask the doctor or nurse.

What about complementary and alternative medicine?

Complementary and alternative medicines are therapies that are not prescribed by the regular health care team. These include prayer, meditation, therapeutic touch, acupuncture, vitamins, minerals, supplements, or naturopathic or homeopathic therapies. There are many reasons why some people use complementary and alternative medicine.

The therapies prescribed by the regular health care team are called conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine.

Important safety points for complementary and alternative medicine

• Talk to your doctor about any complementary or alternative medicines that you are considering. These can interact with JIA medications. They can affect how your body responds to your medications. They may lead to more side effects.

• Remember that the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. Some of these treatments have ingredients not listed on the label. They may have much more or much less of the featured ingredient than their label states.

• Even though they may be “natural,” these treatments can have side effects too.

• The claims for many of these treatments can be attractive. They can claim to help improve, or even cure, JIA. They can promise to make you feel better. Much of the information about these treatments is based on personal stories from patients or alternative health care providers. Although some of these treatments may help, many have not been scientifically studied.

• Check with your doctor to make sure these treatments do not interact with your medication. In many cases, your doctor cannot say for sure that there will be no interaction. Many of these treatments have never been studied.

• Do not stop your prescribed medications. Instead, use these other treatments in addition to your regular medicines. Be sure your doctors or nurses know what you are taking.

• Some of these treatments may ask you to restrict certain foods in your diet. Make sure you are not cutting out nutrients your body needs. You still need many nutrients to grow and develop properly. For example, if you are reducing dairy products, you still need the calcium for healthy growing bones and teeth.



Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.