When Kids With JRA Don’t Adhere To Their Treatment Plans

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) can be a complicated health condition for both the affected child and his concerned parents. Most, if not all, of them will start on the doctor-recommended management plan with the best of intentions so much so that the instructions are followed to the letter. But sticking to a complex treatment plan can eventually become overwhelming, especially for parents whose children have severe JRA, so non-adherence creeps in slowly.  

Reasons for Non-compliance

According to estimates, at least one-third of children with JRA are either not in compliance or not consistent with their doctor-recommended treatment plans. While this is sad considering the importance of consistency in compliance, this isn’t exactly surprising because many things can go wrong along the way.  

The common reasons for it include but aren’t limited to:

  • Taking multiple medications, such as Celebrex, at different times of the day and in different dosages can be challenging, even for well-organized parents
  • Experiencing the side effects from medications, such as weight gain, upset stomach, and constipation, also contributes to the children just stopping their intake
  • Waxing and waning of the symptoms of JRA can mean that children will stop taking their medications when they feel better or when they feel frustrated about their lack of progress
  • Waiting for the drugs to make a positive effect in terms of the reduction of symptoms also adds to the frustration so patients will just give up

But sticking to your child’s treatment plan is the key to the effective management of his JRA symptoms! Doctors agree that the positive or negative outcome for JRA is directly related to his medication compliance that, in turn, can even contribute to the reduction or removal of certain medications from his plan.  

Tips for Compliance

Parents, you don’t have to give up on your children so easily either! While you may have a challenge in your hands, you will find that getting your child to take his medications and perform his exercises aren’t impossible.   

  • Establish a routine by setting aside time for taking his medications and performing his exercises at the same time every day. You can use alarms for this purpose so that you also don’t forget.
  • Reward your child with small prizes for his compliance with his treatment plan. You can use a rewards system wherein points are accumulated and exchanged for age-appropriate prizes.  
  • Reassure your child about the efficacy of his medications even when there seems to be little to no observable effect. You can explain about how medications take a few weeks to take effect but when these do take effect, his symptoms will be better.  

Children with JRA shouldn’t be fighting their symptoms on their own. Parents should be in on the fight, too, and get better results from such cooperation.  

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