Children with arthritis to benefit from new wonder drugs

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) Paediatric Rheumatology patients are set to benefit from new ‘life changing’ drugs following the introduction of a new NICE Guideline.

The guidelines relate to the treatment of severe arthritis in children, particularly those with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), which can affect children of all ages from 0 to 16. The guidelines recommend treatment via four newly licensed drugs which each treat paediatric patients of various ages, and at different stages of their illness. One of the four recommended drugs includes Adalimumab (Humira, AbbVie), which has had clinical input from NNUH Jenny Lind Specialist Paediatric Rheumatology Consultant Kate Armon.

Dr Armon who has worked at NNUH for 12 years, funded by Addenbrooks for the last year, represented the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology as Clinical Expert at the NICE Technology Appraisal meeting which developed the final guideline.

Dr Armon fed back the clinical effectiveness of using all four drugs for severe arthritis in children (affecting five or more joints), which up until now could only be used if specific permission had been granted for individual funding. Dr Armon has extensive experience of treating children with arthritis and uveitis (eye inflammation, which commonly go together) during the recent UK clinical trial of Adalimumab (Humira, AbbVie).

Dr Kate Armon, NNUH Jenny Lind Specialist Paediatric Rheumatology Consultant said: “Following successful international clinical trials we are delighted that new drugs are available on the NHS to treat our most severely affected children and young people with arthritis. These drugs often work remarkably quickly to reduce the symptoms of pain, stiffness and fatigue, giving patients a better quality of life.”

In inflammatory arthritis, a protein called tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is over-produced by the immune system in the body. This causes inflammation and damage to bones, cartilage and tissue. Adalimumab is an anti-TNF drug which will block the action of TNF and can reduce inflammation. By reducing inflammation, the drug reduces all the symptoms of arthritis including swelling, heat and stiffness in the joints. The other three drugs approved in this NICE guideline work on different parts of the immune system.

Notes to editors

Dr Kate Armon is available for interview – please call the press office for further information.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Approximately 12,000 children and young people in the UK have Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) which represents 1 child in every 1000 under the age of 16. JIA is one of the commonest causes of physical disability in childhood yet many people are unaware children can get inflammatory arthritis. (

Adalimumab (trade name Humira) is an anti-TNF drug. In people with rheumatoid arthritis and some other inflammatory diseases a protein called TNF is overproduced in the body, causing inflammation and damage to the joints. Anti-TNF drugs block the action of TNF and so reduce this inflammation. – See more at:

British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology (BSPAR)
British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology (BSPAR) is a Charitable Company registered in England and Wales who encourage and support clinical care, research education and training in paediatric rheumatology in the U.K (

NICE Guideline Arthritis (juvenile idiopathic)
NICE Guideline Arthritis (juvenile idiopathic) – abatacept, adalimumab, etanercept and tocilizumab (inc review TA35) [ID783] released on 16 December 2015 and available on the NICE website. (

All four drugs included in the NICE guideline are fully funded by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Dr Kate Armon

Dr Kate Armon

Friday 4th of March 2016 04:01:49 PM