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Taking JIA medications

JIA medications come in many different forms including oral liquids or tablets, or injections. It’s important to remember to give your child JIA medications when they are supposed to receive them.

Different ways to take JIA medications

There are many ways to take JIA medication. Many medications are taken orally, meaning by mouth. Oral medicines are available in liquid or tablet form. If your child is not comfortable swallowing pills, ask their doctor if they are available in a liquid form. If not, the doctor or nurse may have tips on how to make swallowing the pills easier.

Some medications have to be given by injection:

• Some of these medications are given subcutaneously, meaning that they are injected just under the skin. This is much like the insulin shots that people with diabetes take.

• Others are given intravenously (IV), which means they are given through a tiny tube inserted in the vein. The other end of the tube is attached to a bag containing the medication. The medication drips directly into the bloodstream.

• Some medications can be injected directly into the joint. This is called a joint injection or intra-articular injection.

Giving your child an injection

IV medications are ordered by the doctor and usually given in a hospital setting by a nurse and joint injections have to be given by a doctor. However, some injections given under the skin may be done at home. In this case, you as a parent or caregiver will need to learn how to give the injections to your child. If your child is mature enough, they may want to learn how to do this for themselves.

Most people don’t like having needles, let alone giving themselves injections. However, many young people find it saves time if they do it themselves. If you, your child or teen are learning to give injections, here are some tips:

Step 1: You need to know how a syringe works. The different parts of a syringe are shown in the picture below.

Syringes

 

Step 2: You need to know how to prepare the medication and how to inject it. Check out this animation on how to give an injection.

Step 3: You need to know the areas, or sites, on the body where the injections can be given. The doctor or nurse will tell you about the best sites to use for the injection. You may find it helpful to use different injection sites so that you don’t irritate your child’s skin by using the same site for every injection. Check out the image below to see where you can inject the medication.

 

 

Methotrexate can be injected into the upper arms or outer thighs. Etanercept (Enbrel) can be injected into the upper arms, outer thighs, or in the abdomen. Space injection points two fingers apart.

Remembering to take JIA medications

Many young people with JIA find it hard to remember to take their medications.

Here are a few useful tips to help parents and teens remember to give or to take medications:

• Use a pill box.

• Have the medications available when needed. For example, your child may need to keep a supply at school.

• Place medications in a prominent place associated with a regular daily activity. One idea is to keep medication in the kitchen so your child can take it with meals.

• Make sure your child’s doctor tells you what to do if your child does miss a medication dose.

• Remind your child about the importance of taking their medication, even if they feel well.

• Use a calendar or mobile phone as a reminder for medication that is given weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

No one likes taking medications. If there are barriers preventing your child from taking their medications, discuss them with the health-care team. They can help you and your child find ways to overcome them.

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.