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- What is adalimumab, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for adalimumab?
- Is adalimumab available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for adalimumab?
- What are the side effects of adalimumab?
- What is the dosage for adalimumab?
- Is adalimumab safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about adalimumab?
What is adalimumab, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Adalimumab is an injectable protein(antibody) that blocks the inflammatory effects of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Crohn 's disease of the intestine. Inflammation is the body's reaction to injury and is a necessary process for the repair of injury. TNF is a protein that the body produces when there is inflammation. TNF promotes inflammation and the signs of inflammation, which, in the case of arthritis, include fever as well as pain, tenderness, and swelling of joints. In the case of Crohn's disease, the signs of inflammation include fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. The unchecked inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis eventually leads to destruction of the joints. The inflammation in Crohn's disease can lead to strictures (narrowing) of the intestine or intestinal perforation. Adalimumab is a synthetic (man-made) antibody that binds to TNF in the body and thereby blocks the effects of TNF. As a result, inflammation and its consequences in the joints and intestine are reduced. In arthritis, the progressive destruction of the joints is slowed or prevented. Adalimumab is a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD) because it slows or prevents destruction of joints. Adalimumab was approved by the FDA in December 2002.
What are the side effects of adalimumab?
The most common side effects are:
Adalimumab may cause swelling, redness, pain and itching at the site of injection. Adalimumab suppresses the immune system and is therefore associated with minor infections of the urinary tract, respiratory tract, and sinuses. Like other drugs that block TNF, use of adalimumab also has been associated with serious infections such as tuberculosis, sepsis (bacteria in the blood) and fungal infections. Individuals with active infections should not be treated with adalimumab. Adalimumab also may worsen the symptoms of diseases of the nervous system. In studies some patients who used adalimumab or other TNF blocking drugs developed cancer. Since patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a higher rate of cancers than the general population, the connection between cancer and use of adalimumab is unclear.
Other side effects of adalimumab include:
- hypersensitivity reactions (including anaphylaxis) and
- reduced levels in the blood of platelets and red cells (aplastic anemia).
Adalimumab may increase the risk of reactivating hepatitis B virus in chronic carriers of the virus.
Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
What is the dosage for adalimumab?
Adalimumab is injected under the skin. The recommended dose for rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis is 40 mg every other week, but some patients may need weekly administration.
Crohn's disease is treated with 160 mg initially, followed by 80 mg two weeks later, then 40 mg every 2 weeks.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is treated with 20 or 40 mg every other week and plaque psoriasis is treated with 80 mg followed by 40 mg every other week.
Is adalimumab safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Adalimumab has not been adequately studied in pregnant women.
Use of adalimumab by nursing mothers has not been adequately evaluated.
What else should I know about adalimumab?
What preparations of adalimumab are available?
Prefilled glass syringe: 20 mg/0.4 ml and 40 mg/0.8 ml; Prefilled pen: 40 mg/0.8 ml.
How should I keep adalimumab stored?
Adalimumab should be refrigerated at 2-8 C (36-46 F).
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
Adalimumab (Humira) is a drug prescribed for reducing the symptoms and signs of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and Crohn's disease. Side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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Top adalimumab Related ArticlesComplete List
Ankylosing SpondylitisAnkylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing spondylitis is genetically inherited. Treatment incorporates medications, physical therapy, and exercise.
Ankylosing SpondylitisWhat is ankylosing spondylitis? Take this quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this painful disorder.
Ankylosing Spondylitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and TreatmentWhat is Ankylosing spondylitis (AS)? Ankylosing spondylitis is arthritis of the spine. It causes symptoms like stiffness and inflammation in the vertabrae and pelvis. It is linked to the HLA-B27 gene. Spondylitis is inflammation of the vertebrae. Learn diet and exercise tips for AS, and how to improve posture.
ArthritisArthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
Crohn's DiseaseCrohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms.
Juvenile ArthritisJuvenile idiopathic arthritis (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or JRA) annually affects one child in every thousand. There are six types of JIA. Treatment of juvenile arthritis depends upon the type the child has and should focus on treating the symptoms that manifest.
PsoriasisPsoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Severe Psoriasis PicturesLearn about the common skin condition psoriasis. Explore about the different types of psoriasis such as vulgaris (plaque psoriasis), guttate psoriasis, and scalp psoriasis. Discover different psoriasis treatment options.
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Psoriatic ArthritisPsoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms include painful, stiff, and swollen joints, tendinitis, and organ inflammation. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medications and exercise.
Relapsing PolychondritisRelapsing polychondritis is an uncommon, chronic disorder of the cartilage that is characterized by recurrent episodes of inflammation of the cartilage of various tissues of the body. Tissues containing cartilage that can become inflamed include the ears, nose, joints, spine, and windpipe (trachea). Tissues that have a biochemical makeup similar to that of cartilage such as the eyes, heart, and blood vessels, can also be affected. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications (NSAIDs) is used as treatment for mild cases of the disease. Steroid-related medications also are usually required.
Rheumatoid ArthritisRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.
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SarcoidosisSarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body tissues and can appear in almost any body organ. However, sarcoidosis most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes.
Tuberculosis Skin Test (PPD Skin Test)The tuberculosis skin test is based on the fact that infection with M. tuberculosis produces a delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reaction to certain components of the bacterium. The standard recommended tuberculin test is administered by injecting 0.1mL of 5 TU (tuberculin units) PPD into the top layers of skin of the forearm. "Reading" the skin test means detecting a raised, thickened local area of skin reaction, referred to as induration. The area of induration (palpable, raised, hardened area) around the site of injection is the reaction to tuberculin.