March 25, 2022
3 min. read

Humira: Uses, Warnings, and Interactions for RA, Psoriasis and More

Medly

Fun fact: With a number of approved uses and the potential for more on the way, Humira is the world’s best-selling drug. It works by reducing the effects of a substance in the body that can cause inflammation, and can therefore treat a number of different inflammatory conditions in adults, including ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis, and a skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa.

In addition, Humira is also used in adults and children to treat Crohn’s disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, or uveitis.

If you’re living with one or more of these conditions, you may be interested in what Humira can do for you. If you’re interested to see if Humira could help you or someone you love, read our latest blog post below to find out more about the blockbuster drug. 

What is Humira

What is Humira? 

Humira (adalimumab) is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker that reduces the effects of a substance in the body that can cause inflammation and is used to treat a number of different inflammatory conditions in adults and children. 

How does Humira work? 

Normally, your immune system defends your body from many of the things that can harm it. But when your immune system malfunctions, it can start to attack the body’s healthy organs and  tissues. TNF, or tumor necrosis factor, is a protein that is produced naturally as part of a healthy immune system. However, there are certain immune diseases where some people produce too much TNF, leading to excessive inflammation

 

Humira is an anti-TNF monoclonal antibody, which means it binds to TNF molecules to block them. In those immune diseases in which people produce too much TNF, Humira, by blocking TNF molecules, helps reduce the inflammation that can lead to symptoms of conditions like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

How effective is Humira

How effective is Humira? 

Because Humira is used to treat a wide variety of different conditions, its effectiveness varies by condition. For example, 63% of people who took Humira with methotrexate saw improvement in rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms (compared to 30% of people taking methotrexate alone).

On the other hand, 18.5% of patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis achieved remission as early as 8 weeks versus 9.2% on placebo. Talk with your healthcare provider about your specific condition to see how effective Humira might be for you. 

What are the side effects of Humira? 

Mild side effects for those who take Humira include reactions at the injection site—such as itching, pain, or swelling—and upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold, headache, and rash.

 

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. If you are taking Humira and experience one of the more serious side effects, such as heart failure, lupus-like syndrome, nerve disorders, blood disorders, or liver damage, call your doctor right away.

If your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911.

 

Humira can be used as part of a treatment plan for a number of different conditions and disorders. If you suffer from an inflammatory condition, ask your doctor if Humira may be right for you. 

 

Sources:

  • NHS website. (2021, November 18). Adalimumab. Nhs.Uk.
  • Herman, B. (2020, August 12). The top-selling drugs in the U.S. in 2019. Axios
  • Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2021, February 25). Information on Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) Blockers (marketed as Remicade, Enbrel, Humira, Cimzia, and Simponi). U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Shealy, D. J., & Visvanathan, S. (2008). Anti-TNF antibodies: lessons from the past, roadmap for the future. Handbook of experimental pharmacology, (181), 101–129. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-73259-4_5
  • Clark J, Vagenas P, Panesar M, et alWhat does tumour necrosis factor excess do to the immune system long term?Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2005;64:iv70-iv76. 
  • How HUMIRA® (adalimumab) Treatment Works for RA. (n.d.). Humira.
  • Ulcerative Colitis Remission & HUMIRA® Results (adalimumab). (n.d.). Humira.
  • Important Safety Information | HUMIRA (adalimumab). (n.d.). Humira.

 

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