Humira (adalimumab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2023

Humira® (adalimumab) is an engineered biologic drug that is approved to treat adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).1

Humira can be used alone or in combination with:1,2

Humira is also approved for use in other autoimmune diseases, including:1

What are the ingredients in Humira?

The active ingredient in Humira is adalimumab.1

How does Humira work?

Humira is a medicine known as a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor. TNF is a protein made by your immune system. In people with certain autoimmune diseases like RA, the immune system makes too much TNF. This leads to RA symptoms like joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.1

Humira works by targeting and sticking to the extra TNF in your body. This helps reduce RA symptoms and prevent further joint damage.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Humira include:1

  • Redness, itching, pain, or swelling at the site of injection
  • Upper respiratory infection, including sinus infection
  • Headaches
  • Rash

Humira has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has this warning because it may cause serious side effects, including:1

  • Serious infections, such as tuberculosis (TB) and sepsis, that can lead to hospitalization or death
  • Increased risk of certain cancers, especially in children and teens

Your doctor will test you for TB before you start Humira. Your doctor will also closely monitor you for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with Humira.1

Do not start taking Humira if you have any type of infection unless your doctor tells you to. Contact your doctor right away if you have any signs of an infection, such as:1

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Feeling very tired

These are not all the possible side effects of Humira. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Humira. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Humira.

Other things to know

Before taking Humira, tell your doctor if you:1

  • Have a current infection or are prone to recurring infections, including open cuts
  • Have diabetes
  • Have tested positive for TB or have been in close contact with someone who has TB
  • Live in areas of the US where known for fungal infections, including the Ohio and Mississippi Valley and the southwest
  • Have or have had Hepatitis B
  • Have any nervous system problems like multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Have or have had heart problems
  • Are allergic to rubber or latex
  • Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding

People taking Humira should not receive certain vaccines. Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccines.1

Certain drugs can interact with Humira, including:1

  • Cimzia (certolizumab pegol)
  • Enbrel (etanercept)
  • Imuran (azathioprine)
  • Kineret (anakinra)
  • Orencia (abatacept)
  • Purinethol (6-mercaptopurine, 6-MP)
  • Remicade(infliximab)
  • Rituxan (rituximab)
  • Simponi (golimumab)

Before beginning treatment for RA, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Humira.

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