Humira (adalimumab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: October 2023 | Last updated: October 2023

Humira® (adalimumab) is a systemic treatment that can be used to treat adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Humira is generally prescribed to people who have not responded well enough to topical treatments, phototherapy, or other types of systemic or biologic therapies.1

What are the ingredients in Humira?

The active ingredient is adalimumab.1

How does Humira work?

Humira is a type of drug known as a TNF-alpha blocker. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is a protein that plays a key role in inflammation. People with psoriasis make too much TNF-alpha. In turn, this leads to inflammation that causes the body to make too many new skin cells, which build up into plaques on the surface of the skin. By blocking TNF-alpha, Humira can help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.1,2

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Humira include:1

  • Upper respiratory or sinus infections
  • Headache
  • Reactions around the injection site, such as redness, rash, swelling, itching, or bruising

Humira has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has this warning because taking Humira can increase your risk of serious viral, bacterial, and fungal infections as well as certain cancers.1

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

Humira changes the way the body’s immune system works. This can make you more likely to get infections and make it harder to fight them off. If you are taking Humira, your doctor will monitor you for any signs of infection or other serious side effects.1

Your doctor will also test you for tuberculosis before starting treatment with Humira.1

People taking Humira should not receive any kind of live vaccine during treatment. Before treatment, make sure that all of your vaccines are up to date.1

You should not take Humira if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.1

There is not enough data to know if Humira is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Before taking this drug, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. They can help you decide if Humira is right for you.1

Before beginning treatment for psoriasis, 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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