- Rheumatoid Arthritis Slideshow Pictures
- Take the RA Quiz
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
- 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.
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.
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.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Ankylosing Spondylitis Quiz: Symptoms & Treatment
What is ankylosing spondylitis? Take this quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this painful disorder....
Psoriasis Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take the mystery out of psoriasis. Take the Psoriasis Quiz and see what you know about the types, symptoms, treatments and more....
Rheumatoid Arthritis Quiz: What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
How is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms,...
Types of Psoriasis: Medical Pictures and Treatments
Learn about the common skin condition psoriasis. Explore about the different types of psoriasis such as vulgaris (plaque...
Ankylosing Spondylitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
What is Ankylosing spondylitis (AS)? Ankylosing spondylitis is arthritis of the spine. It causes symptoms like stiffness and...
Related Disease Conditions
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing...
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or JRA) annually affects one child in every thousand. There are six...
Crohn's Disease (Symptoms, Causes, Diet, Treatment, Life Expectancy)
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect...
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales....
Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms include painful, stiff, and swollen joints,...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints,...
Sarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body...
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness...
Relapsing polychondritis is an uncommon, chronic disorder of the cartilage that is characterized by recurrent episodes of...
Scleritis is inflammation of the white part of the eye. It may be caused by a serious underlying condition, such as an autoimmune...
Scalp Psoriasis (Psoriasis of the Scalp)
Scalp psoriasis causes red, raised, scaly patches that may extend from the scalp to the forehead and the back of the neck and...
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin condition that causes painful red abscesses in the groin and armpits that may...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis FAQs
- Psoriasis FAQs
- Ankylosing Spondylitis FAQs
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Prescriptions: Complying with the Doctor's Orders
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- National Arthritis Meeting 2003
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Perspectives:2003 National Meeting
- Arthritis Drugs and New Meds: 2004 Perspectives
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Amjevita OK'd to Treat Inflammatory Diseases
- Immune-Based Drug May Ease Chronic Eye Condition
- New Treatments Helping Kids With Juvenile Arthritis
- Nerve Zap Eased Rheumatoid Arthritis in Small Study
- Experimental Psoriasis Drug Shows Promise
- The 10 Most-Prescribed and Top-Selling Medications
- Some Arthritis Meds Cost Seniors Thousands Annually
- Biosimilar Drugs: FAQ
- Many Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients May Skip Meds: Study
- Popular Crohn's, Colitis Drugs Not Linked to Short-Term Cancer Risk: Study
- Drug Shows Promise Against Arthritis Common in People with Psoriasis
- Some Types of Skin Cancer Linked to Lower Chances of Alzheimer's
- Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs Don't Seem to Increase Risk of Shingles
- Lupus May Be Linked to Serious Pregnancy Complication
- Humira Approved for Ulcerative Colitis Treatment
- Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs Don't Raise Cancer Risk: Study
- Some Psoriasis Therapies May Cut Heart Attack Risk
- Humira Might Help Kids With Tough-to-Treat Crohn's Disease
- Study Compares Safety of 'Biologic' Meds for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Newer Drugs Help RA Patients Live Longer
- Study: Actemra Tops Rival in Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Psoriasis Guidelines Call for Tailored Treatment
- Pill Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Rheumatoid Arthritis Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.