Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is NOT Rheumatoid Arthritis
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) and rheumatoid arthritis are different conditions. Although they are both autoimmune types of arthritis, the optimal approach to treatment is often significantly different. JIA was originally called Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA). This has led to confusion, and when patients who were previously diagnosed with JIA transition to the care of an adult rheumatologist, they are often inappropriately reclassified as having rheumatoid arthritis because they are now adults. This can be dangerous because some of the treatments recommended for JIA and rheumatoid arthritis are different. For example, steroids are not effective for JIA and can cause unnecessary toxicity over time. When children diagnosed with JIA reach adulthood, they need to be treated by an adult rheumatologist who understands that the treatment for adults with juvenile arthritis does not change just because they become adults. If you are an adult with JIA, please encourage your adult rheumatologist to contact your pediatric rheumatologist so that an appropriate transitional treatment plan can be created if this has not already been done.