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Volume 44, Number 1, February 2011

Etanercept treatment for children with refractory juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Ho-Chang Kuo, Hong-Ren Yu, Chih-Chiang Wu, Ling-Sai Chang, Kuender D. Yang

Received: August 12, 2009    Revised: December 10, 2010    Accepted: December 13, 2010   


Corresponding author:

Department of Medical Research and Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Kaohsiung Medical Center, 123 Ta-Pei Road, Niaosung, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
E-mail address: (K.D. Yang).


Background and purpose: 

Etanercept has been shown to be an effective treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of etanercept therapy in the treatment of refractory JIA.



This was a retrospective analysis of 11 patients with refractory JIA (polyarticular type nZ7; pauciarticular type, nZ2; systemic type, nZ2) who received treatment with etanercept during the period 2005e2009 in a medical center. The indications for etanercept treatment included persistent fever, arthritis/arthralgia, or elevated levels of inflammatory mediators after treatment with methotrexate and/or prednisolone for more than 6 months. The patients were treated with etanercept (0.4 mg/kg, with maximal 25 mg, subcutaneously,
twice a week) for a total of 12 months.



The degree of arthritis/arthralgia improved (range of motion and painful sensation of involved joints), and the levels of inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate) decreased progressively in 10 of the 11 patients (p < 0.05) at 1-, 3-, 5-, and 12-month follow-up after treatment with etanercept. Mean hemoglobin levels significantly increased, whereas mean platelet counts decreased after etanercept treatment (p < 0.05). Only one patient with systemic type of JIA failed to respond to the
treatment after 6 weeks of etanercept therapy. Methotrexate, prednisolone, and other immunosuppressive drugs were successfully discontinued after a mean of 2.5 months (range, 1e5 months) of etanercept therapy in the 10 patients who responded to etanercept treatment.



Etanercept is beneficial for patients with polyarticular and pauciarticular type of JIA that is refractory to conventional treatment but less beneficial for systemic type of JIA.


Key words:

Etanercept; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Tumor necrosis factoralpha