Juvenile arthritis refers to the types of arthritis that affect children. It may cause significant pain, disability and restrictions in school and other activities. This snapshot focuses on arthritis in children 0 to 15 years old, although some children may enter into their adulthood with the condition.
Juvenile arthritis is not a common condition, affecting less than 1% of children.
In the past decade, a new class of medicine, referred to as biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs), became available for treatment of juvenile arthritis in Australia, broadening the treatment options.
For this relatively uncommon condition, only limited national statistics are available, making it difficult to evaluate the full extent of the effects of this condition on the children who have it and those who care for them.
The available data show that:
- While the total expenditure on medicines used to manage juvenile arthritis is not known, the Australian Government subsidies paid for bDMARDs have increased each year since their introduction, to $4.7 million in 2011.
- In the 10 years to 2009–10, the age-standardised hospitalisation rates for juvenile arthritis have increased for girls. The reasons for this increase are not yet clear.