Diagnosis

No single test identifies adult Still's disease. Imaging tests can reveal damage caused by the disease, while blood tests can help rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.

Treatment

Doctors use a variety of drugs to treat adult Still's disease. The type of drug you'll take depends on the severity of your symptoms and whether you have side effects.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), may help with mild joint pain and inflammation. Stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription. NSAIDs can damage the liver, so you may need regular blood tests to check liver function.
  • Steroids. Most people who have adult Still's disease require treatment with steroids, such as prednisone. These powerful drugs reduce inflammation, but may lower your body's resistance to infections and increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Methotrexate. The medication methotrexate (Trexall) is often used in combination with prednisone, which allows the prednisone dose to be reduced.
  • Biologic response modifiers. Drugs such as infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira) and etanercept (Enbrel) have shown some promise, but their long-term benefit is still unknown. If other medications haven't worked, your doctor may suggest trying anakinra (Kineret), tocilizumab (Actemra) or rituximab (Rituxan).

Lifestyle and home remedies

Here are ways to make the most of your health if you have adult Still's disease:

  • Understand your medications. Even if you're symptom-free some days, it's important to take your medications as your doctor recommends. Controlling inflammation helps reduce the risk of complications.
  • Supplement your diet. If you're taking high doses of prednisone, talk to your doctor about taking more calcium and vitamin D supplements to help prevent osteoporosis.
  • Keep moving. Although you might not want to work out if your joints ache, exercise is recommended for all types of arthritis. Exercise can help you maintain your range of motion and relieve pain and stiffness.

Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to seek advice from your primary care provider, but he or she might refer you to a specialist in joint diseases (rheumatologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fast for a specific test. Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including when they started and how often they flare
  • Key medical information, including any other health conditions with which you've been diagnosed
  • All medications, vitamins and supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you get.

For adult Still's disease, basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing my symptoms?
  • What other possible causes are there?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the approach you're suggesting?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Do your symptoms come and go, or are they continuous?
  • When are your symptoms most likely to flare?
  • What treatments or self-care measures have you tried?
  • Have any treatments or self-care measures helped?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?