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A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine touted the efficacy of adult arthritis drugs methotrexate and leflunomide (Arava) in treating children with arthritis. Whereas methotrexate has been used for years to treat children with arthritis, it now has been shown to be effective at higher doses. The FDA has approved Arava for adult use but not for treating children.
Patients given the higher dose of methotrexate had a 90% response rate, while patients taking Arava had a 68% response rate. Both drugs help control the white blood cells that cause inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. The study was funded by Sanofi-Aventis, manufacturer of both drugs.