DMARD/Biologic summary table

JIA artwork

Picture by Beatrice Kirton, age 6

The following tables give an overview of some key facts about medication used to treat JIA (in alphabetical order). To find out more about these individual drugs, click on the drug name to go to our article about that drug. 

Standard DMARDs and biologic drugs are slow-release drugs, so can take a few weeks to start to work (up to around 12 weeks, though improvement may be felt some time before then). 

Standard disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) 

Drug name How the drug is taken How it works Blood tests mandatory?
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) Tablet Reduces over activity of the immune system Yes - infrequently
Methotrexate (MTX) Liquid, tablet, syringe Reduces over activity of the immune system Yes - regularly
Sulfasalazine (SSZ) Tablet Reduces over activity of the immune system Yes – initially regularly, then less frequently

Biologic Drugs

Drug name How the drug is taken How it works Blood tests mandatory?
Abatacept (ABA) Infusion Reduces over activity of the immune system by targeting T-cells Yes- every 3 months initially
Adalimumab (ADA) Syringe or pen Reduces over activity of the immune system by targeting TNFα cells Yes- every 3 months initially
Etanercept (ETN) Syringe or pen Reduces over activity of the immune system by targeting TNFα cells Yes- every 3 months initially
Tocilizumab (TCZ) Infusion Reduces over activity of the immune system by targeting IL6 cells Yes- every 3 months initially

Newly developed biologic drugs (only available from some specialist centres)

Drug name How the drug is taken How it works Blood tests mandatory?
Canakinumab Syringe Reduces over activity of the immune system by targeting IL1 cells Yes- every 3 months initially

References available on request

By retired rheumatology clinical nurse specialist Nicky Kennedy BSc RN QN HV
Original article: 26/01/2016
Reviewed: N/A
Next review due: 26/01/2019