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Humira (Adalimumab): Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Warnings

UpdatedFebruary 22, 2024

Humira (Adalimumab) is a medication used to treat various autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn's disease. It works by blocking a protein in the body that causes inflammation, which can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for those who suffer from these conditions.

The dosage and administration of Humira can vary depending on the specific condition being treated, as well as the patient's age, weight, and overall health. It is typically given as an injection under the skin, either by a healthcare professional or by the patient themselves after proper training.

While Humira can be an effective treatment for many people, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects and warnings associated with the medication. These can include serious infections, allergic reactions, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer.

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Key Takeaways

  • Humira (Adalimumab) is a medication used to treat autoimmune diseases by blocking inflammation in the body.
  • Dosage and administration of Humira can vary depending on the condition being treated and the patient's health.
  • While effective, Humira can have serious side effects and should be used with caution and careful monitoring.

Humira (Adalimumab)

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What is Humira (Adalimumab)?

Humira (Adalimumab) is a medication used to treat various inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and plaque psoriasis. It belongs to a class of drugs called TNF blockers, which work by blocking the action of a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). TNF is a protein produced by the immune system that can cause inflammation and damage to the body's tissues.

Humira is approved by the FDA for use in adults and children over the age of 6. It is administered as an injection under the skin and can be self-administered by patients or given by a healthcare provider.

The active ingredient in Humira is adalimumab, which is a monoclonal antibody that specifically targets TNF. Adalimumab is produced by genetically engineered cells and is designed to bind to TNF and prevent it from causing inflammation.

Humira has been shown to be effective in reducing the signs and symptoms of inflammatory conditions and improving patients' quality of life. However, it can also cause side effects, including an increased risk of infections, allergic reactions, and other serious adverse events.

Patients who are prescribed Humira should be closely monitored by their healthcare provider and should report any side effects or changes in their condition. Humira should not be used by patients with active infections or a history of tuberculosis, and it may interact with other medications, so patients should inform their healthcare provider of all medications they are taking.

Uses of Humira

Humira (Adalimumab) is a medication that is used to treat various conditions related to the immune system. It is a biologic drug that works by blocking a protein called TNF-alpha, which is responsible for causing inflammation in the body. Here are some of the conditions that Humira is used to treat:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Humira is used to reduce the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults. It can be used alone or in combination with other medications.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: Humira is used to reduce the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis in adults. It can be used alone or in combination with other medications.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: Humira is used to reduce the signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis in adults
  • Plaque Psoriasis: Humira is used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Humira is used to reduce the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa in adults.
  • Crohn's Disease: Humira is used to reduce the signs and symptoms and maintain clinical remission in adults with moderate to severe Crohn's disease who have not responded well to other treatments.
  • Ulcerative Colitis: Humira is used to reduce the signs and symptoms and maintain clinical remission in adults with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis who have not responded well to other treatments
  • Uveitis: Humira is used to reduce the signs and symptoms of non-infectious intermediate, posterior, and panuveitis in adults.
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Humira is used to reduce the signs and symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children.

Overall, Humira is a versatile medication that can be used to treat a wide range of immune-related conditions. However, it is important to note that it may not be suitable for everyone, and there are some potential side effects and risks associated with its use. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider to determine if Humira is the right treatment option for you.

Dosage and Administration

Dosage and administration of Humira (Adalimumab) depend on the condition being treated. It is important to follow the healthcare professional's instructions regarding dosage and administration.

Humira is administered by injection under the skin (subcutaneously). The injection can be given by a healthcare professional or self-administered by the patient after proper training.

The recommended dose of Humira for adults with rheumatoid arthritis is 40 mg every other week. For psoriatic arthritis, the recommended dose is 40 mg every other week or 40 mg every week. For ankylosing spondylitis, the recommended dose is 40 mg every other week. For Crohn's disease, the recommended dose is 40 mg every other week. For ulcerative colitis, the recommended dose is 160 mg initially (as four 40 mg injections in one day or as two 40 mg injections per day for two consecutive days), followed by 80 mg two weeks later (two 40 mg injections in one day or one 40 mg injection per day for two consecutive days).

Humira is available in prefilled syringes and prefilled pens. The healthcare professional will determine the appropriate device for the patient and provide proper instructions for use.

The loading dose of Humira, which is a higher initial dose, may be used in certain conditions. The healthcare professional will determine if a loading dose is necessary and provide appropriate instructions for use.

It is important to store Humira in the refrigerator at a temperature of 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). Do not freeze Humira. Before use, Humira should be allowed to come to room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

In summary, Humira is administered by subcutaneous injection and the dosage and administration depend on the condition being treated. The healthcare professional will determine the appropriate dose and device for the patient and provide proper instructions for use. It is important to follow the instructions closely and store Humira properly.

Side Effects of Humira

Humira (Adalimumab) is a medication used to treat various conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. While it can be effective in treating these conditions, it can also cause side effects in some people.

Common side effects of Humira include pain, swelling, redness, and itching at the injection site. Some people may also experience fever, chills, cough, headache, or tiredness. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days.

Less common side effects of Humira include numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, skin rash, hair loss, weight gain, and sores in the mouth or throat. If any of these side effects persist or worsen, it is important to contact a healthcare provider.

In rare cases, Humira can cause serious side effects such as seizures, back pain, chest pain, pale skin, burning or tingling sensations, and allergic reactions. If any of these symptoms occur, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

It is important to note that not everyone will experience side effects from Humira, and the benefits of the medication may outweigh the risks for some people. However, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects and to speak with a healthcare provider if any concerns arise.

Warnings and Precautions

Humira (Adalimumab) is a powerful medication used to treat various inflammatory conditions. However, it is important to note that there are some warnings and precautions associated with the use of this medication.

One of the most important warnings is the increased risk of infections. Humira can lower the body's ability to fight infections, making it easier to get sick. Patients should be monitored for signs of infection and should report any symptoms to their healthcare provider immediately.

Another important precaution is the risk of tuberculosis (TB). Patients should be screened for TB before starting Humira. If a patient has a history of TB or has been in close contact with someone who has TB, they should not take Humira unless they have been treated for TB first.

Humira may also increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma. Patients should be monitored for signs of cancer, and any suspicious symptoms should be reported to their healthcare provider.

Patients with hepatitis B should also be cautious when taking Humira. The medication can cause the virus to become active again, which can lead to serious liver problems. Patients should be tested for hepatitis B before starting Humira.

Other precautions include heart failure, vaccine administration, multiple sclerosis, allergy, trouble breathing, dark urine, loss of appetite, nerve-muscle disorder, major surgery, unborn baby, breastfeeding, and corticosteroids. Patients should discuss these risks with their healthcare provider before starting Humira.

In summary, Humira is a powerful medication that can be very effective in treating inflammatory conditions. However, there are some important warnings and precautions associated with its use. Patients should be aware of these risks and should discuss them with their healthcare provider before starting Humira.

Interactions with Other Medicines

When taking Humira, it is important to be aware of its potential interactions with other medications. Patients should always inform their healthcare provider of all medications they are currently taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as any herbal supplements.

One medication that may interact with Humira is methotrexate, which is commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. When taken together, the risk of infections may increase. Therefore, the healthcare provider may adjust the dosage of one or both medications to minimize the risk.

Another medication that may interact with Humira is biosimilar drugs. Biosimilars are similar to Humira and are used to treat the same conditions. Patients should consult their healthcare provider before taking biosimilars with Humira to ensure that the combination is safe and effective.

Infliximab is another medication that may interact with Humira. Both medications are used to treat inflammatory conditions, and when taken together, the risk of infections may increase. Therefore, the healthcare provider may adjust the dosage of one or both medications to minimize the risk.

Corticosteroids may also interact with Humira. When taken together, the risk of infections may increase. Patients should consult their healthcare provider before taking corticosteroids with Humira to ensure that the combination is safe and effective.

It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and patients should always consult their healthcare provider before taking any new medications with Humira.

Humira and Pregnancy

Humira (Adalimumab) is a medication that is used to treat various autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. However, it is important to note that there are potential risks associated with using Humira during pregnancy.

If a woman is pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of using Humira with her healthcare provider. The FDA has classified Humira as a pregnancy category B drug, which means that it has not been shown to cause harm to an unborn baby in animal studies. However, there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.

It is also important to note that Humira can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Therefore, women who are breastfeeding should also discuss the risks and benefits of using Humira with their healthcare provider.

Overall, the use of Humira during pregnancy and breastfeeding should be carefully considered and discussed with a healthcare provider. It is important to weigh the potential benefits of the medication for the mother against the potential risks to the unborn baby or nursing infant.

Cost and Availability

Humira is a brand-name drug that can be quite expensive. The cost of Humira can vary depending on a number of factors, including the dosage, the frequency of use, and the location of the pharmacy. According to GoodRx, the average retail price of a 40mg/0.8mL Humira pen is around $5,400. However, the cost of the medication can be significantly lower if the patient has insurance or qualifies for financial assistance.

In addition to the brand-name Humira, there are also biosimilars available on the market. Biosimilars are drugs that are similar to the original biologic drug, but are not identical. One biosimilar to Humira is Amjevita, which was approved by the FDA in 2016. According to GoodRx, the average retail price of a 40mg/0.8mL Amjevita pen is around $4,000, which is slightly lower than the cost of Humira.

It's important to note that while biosimilars are often less expensive than the brand-name drug, they are not always interchangeable. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider to determine if a biosimilar is an appropriate treatment option for their condition.

Overall, the cost and availability of Humira and its biosimilars can vary depending on a number of factors. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider and their insurance provider to determine the most cost-effective treatment option for their individual needs.

Conclusion

Humira (Adalimumab) is a widely used medication that has been proven effective in treating a variety of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn's disease. It is a biologic drug that works by targeting and neutralizing specific proteins in the body that cause inflammation.

While Humira has been shown to be effective in treating these conditions, it is important to note that it may not be suitable for everyone. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting treatment with Humira.

Like all medications, Humira can cause side effects, and it is important to be aware of them. Some of the most common side effects include injection site reactions, infections, and headaches. However, serious side effects such as allergic reactions and infections that can be life-threatening are rare.

Overall, Humira is a valuable treatment option for those suffering from certain conditions. However, it is important to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and to work closely with a healthcare professional to determine if Humira is the right choice for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the most common side effects of Humira?

The most common side effects of Humira include injection site reactions, headache, and upper respiratory infections. Some patients may also experience nausea, abdominal pain, or skin rash.

2. What are the worst side effects of Humira?

The worst side effects of Humira include serious infections, allergic reactions, and heart failure. Patients taking Humira may also experience liver injury, blood disorders, or nervous system disorders.

3. What are the contraindications of Humira?

Humira is contraindicated in patients with active infections, tuberculosis, or other severe infections. Patients with a history of heart failure or cancer should also avoid taking Humira.

4. What are the neurological side effects of Humira?

Humira may cause neurological side effects such as seizures, multiple sclerosis-like symptoms, or optic neuritis. Patients experiencing these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

5. What is the cancer rate associated with Humira?

Studies have shown that patients taking Humira may have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, including lymphoma and skin cancer. However, the overall risk of cancer is still relatively low.

6. Are there any foods to avoid while taking Humira?

There are no specific foods that patients need to avoid while taking Humira. However, patients should discuss any dietary concerns with their healthcare provider.

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