Humira (adalimumab) is a biologic medicine that helps the pain and swelling of arthritis. It works by blocking TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor), a type of signalling protein (called a cytokine), that is involved in systemic inflammation. Humira belongs to a class of similar medications called “Anti-TNF” agents.
Humira is used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis, Psoriasis, Crohn’s Disease, and other types of arthritis. It may also be used to treat other diseases outside of rheumatology.
Humira is available as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection in one of two forms: as a pre-filled syringe, and as an autoinjector (pen). The standard dose of each injection is 40 mg. It is usually taken every other week, but it can be prescribed every week to some patients.
Subcutaneous injections are easy to do compared to other types of injections. Patients can do them quickly at home. A small needle pokes just under the skin to deliver medicine into the “fatty tissue” below.
Humira usually takes about 2 weeks before patients start to feel its effects. It may take 12 weeks to feel the effect of this medicine.
Humira may be prescribed in combination with other rheumatology medications like methotrexate.
Important Tests and Risks
Humira can make it a bit harder for people to fight off infections. People taking this medicine should call their doctor they have a fever, think they have an infection, or have been prescribed antibiotics to treat an infection.
Patients should coordinate with their doctor to stop treatment before any surgery, and re-start once things have healed and there’s no sign of infection.
Patients should discuss all vaccinations with their doctor because some are not advisable to get while taking Humira.
It is important to get a TB (tuberculosis) skin test and a chest x-ray before starting treatment.
Patients who are taking Humira should get occasional blood tests as requested by their doctor to keep track of their arthritis and make sure that blood counts are ok.
Drug Identification Number (DIN): 02258595 (SC)