Humira (Adalimumab)

What is it? Humira is a Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drug (DMARD), one of the new class called biologic response modifiers. FDA approved: December 2002 Average annual cost: $16,000 Brand Names and International Availability: Humira (US) How does it work? Designed specifically to block the effects of cytokines, which act as messengers within the immune system and can cause inflammation to the joints, this reduces the symptoms of RA by helping the body’s own immune system to slow down the inflammation process and inhibit joint deterioration. Dosage: Humira comes in prefilled 1ml syringes, to be given every other week. It can be used alone or in combination with methotrexate or other DMARDs. How should I take it? Humira is injected subcutaneously every other week. You may self inject after you are given proper instruction. Contraindications: Humira should not be taken if you have an allergy to any of the ingredients (adalimumab, sodium phosphate, sodium citrate, citric acid, mannitol, and polysorbate 80), or if you have any allergies to rubber or latex. Before you start taking HUMIRA you should tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following:

  • Any kind of infection including an infection that is in only one place in your body (such as an open cut or sore), or an infection that is in your whole body (such as the flu). Having an infection could put you at risk for serious side effects from HUMIRA. If you are unsure, please ask your doctor. A history of infections that keep coming back or other conditions that might increase your risk of infections. If you’ve ever had tuberculosis (TB), or if you have been in close contact with someone who’s had TB. If you develop any of the symptoms of TB (a dry cough that doesn’t go away, weight loss, fever, night sweats) call your doctor right away. Your doctor will need to examine you for TB and perform a skin test. If you experience any numbness or tingling or have ever had a disease that affects your nervous system like multiple sclerosis. If you’re scheduled to have major surgery.

  • If you’re scheduled to be vaccinated for anything.

Humira has not been tested on pregnant mothers or nursing mothers and should only be used if clearly needed. Drug Interactions: While you should be able to take all of your other medications while taking Humira, you must be sure to tell your doctor about every medication you’re taking. This includes prescription medication, over the counter medications, and herbal supplements. Possible side effects: The most frequently reported side effect is injection site reaction. Other less serious side effects include headache, nausea and diarrhea. More serious side effects that you should report right away include infection (sinusitis, fever, upper respiratory symptoms, unusual redness and swelling). In very rare cases, as with all TNF-blocking agents there is a possibility of developing tuberculosis (TB), or disorders that affect the nervous system, very rare cases of certain kinds of cancer, or lupus-like symptoms. If you experience chest pains that do not go away, shortness of breath, joint pain or a rash on your cheeks or arms that is sensitive to the sun, call your doctor right away. Your doctor may decide to stop your treatment. Signs of a possible allergic reaction are rash, swelling and difficulty breathing. These symptoms should be reported immediately. Precautions & Special Notes: This drug must be kept refrigerated until ready to use. Please find out the proper method for needle disposal in your area. For more information:Humira.com

References:
Humira Website
RA.com
The FDA Website
Drugstore.com