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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Flora McErlane,
Professor Helen Foster
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BACKGROUND: In the UK, juvenile idiopathic arthritis is the most common inflammatory disorder in childhood, affecting 10 : 100,000 children and young people aged < 16 years each year, with a population prevalence of around 1 : 1000. Corticosteroids are commonly used to treat juvenile idiopathic arthritis; however, there is currently a lack of consensus as to which corticosteroid induction regimen should be used with various disease subtypes and severities of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. OBJECTIVE: The main study objective was to determine the feasibility of conducting a randomised controlled trial to compare the different corticosteroid induction regimens in children and young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. DESIGN: This was a mixed-methods study. Work packages included a literature review; qualitative interviews with children and young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and their families; a questionnaire survey and screening log to establish current UK practice; a consensus meeting with health-care professionals, children and young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and their families to establish the primary outcome; a feasibility study to pilot data capture and to collect data for future sample size calculations; and a final consensus meeting to establish the final protocol. SETTING: The setting was rheumatology clinics across the UK. PARTICIPANTS: Children, young people and their families who attended clinics and health-care professionals took part in this mixed-methods study. INTERVENTIONS: This study observed methods of prescribing corticosteroids across the UK. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main study outcomes were the acceptability of a future trial for children, young people, their families and health-care professionals, and the feasibility of delivering such a trial. RESULTS: Qualitative interviews identified differences in the views of children, young people and their families on a randomised controlled trial and potential barriers to recruitment. A total of 297 participants were screened from 13 centres in just less than 6 months. In practice, all routes of corticosteroid administration were used, and in all subtypes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Intra-articular corticosteroid injection was the most common treatment. The questionnaire surveys showed the varying clinical practice across the UK, but established intra-articular corticosteroids as the treatment control for a future trial. The primary outcome of choice for children, young people, their families and health-care professionals was the Juvenile Arthritis Disease Activity Score, 71-joint count. However, results from the feasibility study showed that, owing to missing blood test data, the clinical Juvenile Arthritis Disease Activity Score should be used. The Juvenile Arthritis Disease Activity Score, 71-joint count, and the clinical Juvenile Arthritis Disease Activity Score are composite disease activity scoring systems for juvenile arthritis. Two final trial protocols were established for a future randomised controlled trial. LIMITATIONS: Fewer clinics were included in this feasibility study than originally planned, limiting the ability to draw strong conclusions about these units to take part in future research. CONCLUSIONS: A definitive randomised controlled trial is likely to be feasible based on the findings from this study; however, important recommendations should be taken into account when planning such a trial. FUTURE WORK: This mixed-methods study has laid down the foundations to develop the evidence base in this area and conducting a randomised control trial to compare different corticosteroid induction regimens in children and young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis is likely to be feasible. STUDY REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN16649996. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 24, No. 36. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.ABOUT JUVENILE IDIOPATHIC ARTHRITIS: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis refers to a group of conditions that cause inflammation and damage of the joints, starting in children and young people aged < 16 years. Treatments include anti-inflammatory medicines, disease-modifying/biologic medicines and corticosteroids. Young people often require corticosteroids at the start of their treatment, or in a flare with worsening inflammation, to get their juvenile idiopathic arthritis under control. A short course of corticosteroids can help and can be given by injection into the joint, through a drip into a vein, by injection into the muscle or in the form of tablets or liquid to be taken orally. Although they have been used for decades, there is no research to show the best way(s) of giving corticosteroids. STUDY AIMS: The study aimed to (1) agree on what corticosteroid treatments to compare in a treatment trial and the best way to measure changes in juvenile idiopathic arthritis to evaluate a quick-acting treatment and (2) find out if there are enough young people with active juvenile idiopathic arthritis in the UK to be included in such a study. METHODS: Published research on corticosteroids in juvenile idiopathic arthritis was reviewed. Health-care professionals were asked how they choose which corticosteroids to use and which method of administration to use. Interviews were carried out with children and young people and their families to (1) consider the design of a study comparing corticosteroid routes, (2) identify outcomes important to them and (3) determine whether or not they would be willing to take part in a future study. A 3-month feasibility study was carried out to collect details of children and young people with active juvenile idiopathic arthritis before and after corticosteroid treatment to measure improvements in juvenile idiopathic arthritis activity, and to see whether or not a larger study would be possible. FINDINGS: This study showed that corticosteroids are used in different ways across the UK. The views of children, young people and their families must be taken into account when designing a future study. This study calculated the number of young people who would be needed to take part in the future, showing that it would be possible to do a larger study that compared different corticosteroid treatments, which would help everyone to understand the best way to use corticosteroids.
Author(s): Jones AP, Clayton D, Nkhoma G, Sherratt FC, Peak M, Stones SR, Roper L, Young B, McErlane F, Moitt T, Ramanan AV, Foster HE, Williamson PR, Deepak S, Beresford MW, Baildam EM
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Health technology assessment (Winchester, England)
Print publication date: 01/08/2020
Online publication date: 01/07/2020
Acceptance date: 01/12/2019
ISSN (electronic): 1366-5278
Publisher: National Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment
PubMed id: 32758350
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