What is Humira?Humira is type of drug called a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker. It is used to treat conditions that cause the body to produce too much of a protein called TNF in the affected areas of the body. Humira is approved to treat moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (a chronic, degenerative inflammatory arthritis, causing eventual fusion of the spine), Crohn's disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease), and plaque psoriasis.
What is the most important information I should know about Humira?Humira may cause serious bacterial, viral, and fungal infections such as tuberculosis (TB) or sepsis. Stop taking Humira and tell your doctor right away if you notice any signs of infection such as: fever, chills, or sore throat, unusual nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea, fast heartbeat, decreased mental alertness, rapid breathing, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, swelling of the lymph nodes, or general feeling of being unwell. If you develop any of the symptoms of tuberculosis (TB) (such as a dry cough that does not go away, weight loss, fever, night sweats), stop Humira immediately and call your doctor.
Humira may increase the risk of developing lymphoma or other types of cancer, especially in children and adolescents. Contact your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of lymphoma such as unusual lumps or swelling (in your neck, armpit, or groin), night sweats, recurring fever, unusual tiredness or weakness, persistent unexplained itching, or unexplained weight loss.
Humira may cause serious nervous system disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), seizures, or inflammation of the nerves of the eyes.
It may take several weeks for Humira to work. You may see improvement of your symptoms as soon as 1 to 2 weeks after starting Humira. Up to 3 months of treatment may be needed for some patients. Do not stop using Humira without checking with your doctor.
Who should not take Humira?Do not begin treatment with Humira if you have an allergy to any of its ingredients.
What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Humira?Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Humira. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have or have had any signs of infection (such as a fever, cough or flulike symptoms), an open cut or sore, a history of TB, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has had it, any numbness or tingling or if you have ever had a disease that affects your nervous system (such as multiple sclerosis), heart failure, any lupus-like disease, bleeding disorders, if you are scheduled to have surgery or have a vaccination, or are allergic to rubber or latex. Also, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What is the usual dosage?The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.
Adults: The recommended starting dose is a 160-milligram (mg) injection on Day 1 (given as four separate 40-mg injections in 1 day or as two 40-mg injections per day for 2 consecutive days), followed by 80 mg 2 weeks later (Day 15). After 4 weeks (Day 29), start maintenance dose of a 40-mg injection every other week.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Children 4 to 17 years: The recommended dose for children >66 pounds is one 40-mg injection every other week. The recommended dose for children 33-66 pounds is one 20-mg injection every other week.
If your child is <33 pounds, your doctor will determine an appropriate Humira dosage.
Adults: The recommended starting dose is one 80-mg injection, then 1 week after the initial dose, you'll receive a maintenance dose of 40 mg every other week.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
Adults: The recommended dose is one 40-mg injection every other week.
How should I take Humira?Your doctor will administer your first injection of Humira under the skin of your front thigh or abdomen. If you would like to self-administer, or have a caregiver administer your injection, have the doctor explain the proper injection and discarding technique.
What should I avoid while taking Humira?Avoid missing doses or appointments with your doctor. Also avoid people who have contagious infections.
What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Humira?If Humira is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Humira with anakinra.
What are the possible side effects of Humira?Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.
Side effects may include: allergic reactions, reactivation of hepatitis B virus in carriers, blood problems, heart problems, immune reactions, psoriasis, injection-site reactions (e.g., bruising, itching, rash, redness, swelling), upper respiratory infections (sinus infections), headaches, rash, nausea
Usually, the rash will go away within a few days. If the skin around the area where you injected Humira still hurts or is swollen, try using a towel soaked with cold water on the injection site. If you have pain, redness or swelling around the injection site that doesn't go away within a few days or gets worse, call your doctor right away.
Can I receive Humira if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?The effects of Humira during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Talk with your doctor before taking this drug if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What should I do if I miss a dose of Humira?If you forget to take Humira on time, inject the next dose right away. Then, take the following dose when your next scheduled dose is due.
How should I store Humira?Store Humira in a refrigerator in the original container until it is used. Protect from light. Do not freeze Humira; if it has been frozen, do not use. Humira remains safe to use until the expiration date printed on the prefilled syringe or pen. If traveling, store Humira in a cool carrier with an ice pack and protect from light. Do not use if liquid is cloudy, discolored, or has flakes or particles in it.
- The Power of ProbioticsProbiotics and other supplements have been hyped as remedies for digestive problems. But do they really work, and can some make your symptoms worse?
- Top Ten Fast Facts About PPIsWhen it comes to this popular class of medications, here's what you need to know.
- Do Over-the-Counter Proton Pump Inhibitors Work?You might wonder why you need a prescription if many PPIs are available over the counter. Get the answers to this and other questions about OTC PPIs.