What is Humira Used For?
Humira Injection Pen is a medication has been used to successfully treat many arthritis, inflammatory and other diseases, however, this medication also has its share of side effects – some of which are more dangerous than others.
The Humira medication name is simply pronounced as follows: hu.meuh.ruh.
Learn more about this drug, from how it works to side effects, in this article.
Humira Injection Pen
The Humira injection pen works by binding to the cells in your body and preventing them from causing inflammation. Once it has bound to the cells, it blocks a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF).
The TNF proteins tell your immune system that something is wrong in the body and that it needs to be attacked. The injection prevents blocking this message from leaving the cell, which reduces inflammation when it’s injected into the body.
How to Inject Humira Painlessly?
Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to inject the mediation. If you’re given a pen like needle, it can be injected into the fatty area of the body (stomach, thighs, hips) or the upper arms.
The injection should be done in 1-inch increments, slow and steady. The needle should never be used again after it’s been injected into the body.
Is Humira an Immunosuppressant?
Unlike other biologic drugs like Remicade, Humira is not an immunosuppressant (it doesn’t reduce immune function).
The mechanism of action for the medication is to block the signals that the immune system needs in order to cause inflammation. This decreases the number of inflammatory cells and cytokines that are involved in the inflammatory process.
The Humira injection can be given to you in a doctor’s office, hospital, or even at your home.
The injection is given into your stomach, through your thigh or buttocks with a needle and syringe. It takes about 10 minutes to give the shot. The injection site will be cleaned before giving the shot, and you might feel some discomfort when getting an injection.
The drug injection pen has been approved for use in treating the following diseases:
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis
The FDA approved Humira in 2009 for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. The side effects that occur are common and include injection site reactions, headache, stomach pain, nausea, urinary tract infection, viral infection.
The following are the ways that Humira injection is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It can be used by itself, but is often given along with one or more other treatments for this type of arthritis. The medication works by slowing down the immune system’s attack on the joints. This reduces pain and swelling in many people who take it.
2. Psoriatic Arthritis
One of the most common uses of Humira injection is for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. This condition causes inflammation in your joints, which can lead to pain and stiffness. The drug works by reducing the effects of the immune system on these symptoms without causing major side effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug to treat moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis in adults who have an inadequate response to other therapies. Patients with psoriatic arthritis can also be treated with methotrexate or a TNF inhibitor, such as Enbrel or Remicade.
3. Inflammatory Diseases
Humira is a medication that treats adalimumab-resistant inflammatory diseases. It is also known as an anti-TNF medication. It prevents the body from producing TNF alpha, which causes inflammation.
The most common inflammatory diseases are Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. However, some people may struggle with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis.
4. Crohn’s Disease
Humira injection is a drug that can be used to treat Crohn’s disease.
If you’re suffering from the condition, it may affect your body in different ways depending on the type of Crohn’s you have. For example, if you have ileocolitis or colitis with ulcerative proctitis, Humira might not work for you at all. If on the other hand, you suffer from Crohn’s with fistulas and perianal disease, the drug could still help.
5. Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a condition that has caused inflammation of the colon.
The condition can be debilitating, and it can cause severe bleeding, weight loss, and infections. Doctors may prescribe Humira injections to reduce the symptoms. There are two ways that drug can work: it can either reduce inflammation or suppress your immune system.
One of the many uses for Humira is to treat psoriasis. This medication is an immunosuppressant, which means it lowers your immune system’s response to foreign substances. Psoriasis is caused by an over-reaction of the immune system, so this treatment works well for that condition.
One possible side effect of the medication is that your body will produce fewer natural killer cells, which helps fight infections.
7. Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation and stiffness of the spine and joints in the body. It typically starts from the neck down to the lower back.
Humira is a drug that is used to treat Ankylosing spondylitis by decreasing disease activity by reducing inflammation, pain, and improving function of areas affected by AS. The medication is also may be prescribed as a preventative measure after surgery to protect against autoimmune disorders.
The recommended dose for Humira injection is 40 mg, injected under the skin once a week. There are also doses of 20 mg and 80 mg, which can be injected as often as every other week for those who suffer from severe arthritis.
Humira Side Effects
The drug side effects are divided into two types, Physical and Psychological.
Physical side effects are common, but usually mild. These include:
- Tiredness or insomnia
- Pain or swelling at the injection site
- Weight gain
Psychological side effects are also possible. These include:
- Emotional disorders
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
Weight gain is a common side effect of many of the medications used to treat arthritis.
When introducing this medication, your doctor may put you on a low-fat diet and increase your exercise. Additionally, patients often experience night sweats that are exacerbated by weight gain.
Medications to Avoid while on Humira Injection
If you are currently on Humira, it is important to avoid certain medications as they may interfere with your treatment.
These include immunosuppressants such as strong opioids, cancer chemotherapy, and other drugs that suppress the immune system. In addition to not taking these medications while on this drug, it is also best to avoid certain types of infections as they could put your health at risk or cause a relapse.
Humira is a potent biologic that can have side effects. It’s important to avoid certain medications while on the drug to prevent developing an adverse reaction. These include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Tretinoin, isotretinoin, or other retinoid for acne
Comparison With Other Medications
Humira vs Remicade
Humira is a medication used to treat adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis while Remicade is often prescribed by doctors as first-line therapy for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Remicade medication blocks the body’s immune system response so it doesn’t start attacking healthy tissues in the joints.
Humira vs Stelara
Stelara is a drug made by Janssen Biotech, Inc. that blocks the activity of TNFα (tumor necrosis factor alpha). It has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Crohn’s disease, but it has been approved in many other countries for this condition.
Stelara was approved by the FDA in 2012 for plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Humira vs Cosentyx
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule naturally found in the body, and it’s one of the substances from which Humira is made. A recent study revealed that those who took the drug experienced a significant decrease in their pain levels after only one week of use, as well as a decrease in their levels of inflammation.
Hyaluronic acid is also found naturally in Cosentyx, but unlike Humira, it is not an injectable drug. Cosentyx is an alternative drug that provides effective treatment without most of the side effects.
Humira vs Xeljanz
Xeljanz is a medication that is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It works by inhibiting the activity of certain inflammatory cells that are responsible for the disease. It is a good choice if you have not been able to find relief from other treatments because it reduces pain, stiffness, and joint damage.
Humira vs Methotrexate
Methotrexate is a drug used to treat or prevent cancer. It can also be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and other serious medical conditions. This medication slows the immune system’s natural production of certain proteins that cause inflammation, which can lead to pain or swelling.
Humira vs Entyvio
Entyvio is a biologic medication that contains the active ingredient vedolizumab. It is used to treat ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis. Entyvio was developed by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, approved for use in the United States, and then licensed to AbbVie Inc.
Humira vs Otezla
Otezla is a medication that’s been approved to treat moderate-to-severe psoriasis in adults. It belongs to a group of drugs called TNF blockers, which work by reducing inflammation in the skin. It’s also been shown to be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Medication Related Concerns
Humira Foods to Avoid
Researches found there is no link between certain foods which interfere with Humira medication, however, always consult your doctor about this matter.
Humira and Alcohol
It is not advisable to consume alcohol when on Humira or any other biologic therapy. Alcohol may interfere with the effectiveness of the medication and has been linked to potentially severe side effects such as nerve damage, low blood sugar, and liver damage.
Humira and Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, it is important to find out if your prescription drugs could have any harmful effects on your unborn baby. Some medications, including Humira, may lead to birth defects when used during pregnancy.
Humira and Breastfeeding
Humira is not approved for use by women who are breastfeeding. It can cause breastmilk to produce less in both the mother and her baby, which might make the baby feel full sooner.
If you are breastfeeding, talk with your provider about the potential risks and benefits of taking Humira. Your prescriptions may be different if you’re breastfeeding or not, and it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects that may occur.
Humira and Lupus
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease, often categorized as an autoimmune connective tissue disorder. It can have a variety of symptoms and can affect many tissues.
Signs and symptoms may include rashes on the face, mouth or other body extremities, pain in the joints, chest pain, hair loss, fatigue and depression.
Some of the side effects of Humira for Lupus are as follows: It can cause a decrease in the number of white blood cells which fight infection. This has been reported in up to 2% of patients taking it for lupus or 1% taking it for rheumatoid arthritis.
Another side effect is an increase in the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis because the drug lowers your body’s ability to use sugar as a fuel.
Humira and Uveitis
Uveitis is a serious eye condition that can cause pain and blindness. Humira is a drug typically used to treat this condition. It works by reducing the body’s immune system response that causes inflammation. This helps reduce pain and swelling as well as improve vision.
Humira and Lymphoma
When injected into the body, Humira works by blocking the formation of specific proteins that may cause harmful effects in your body. The medication is typically effective against many types of cancer, including lymphoma.
Humira and Hair Loss
If you have a history of hair loss, a genetic pre-disposition to hair loss, or notice hair loss after going on Humira, ask your doctor about it. You may be told to stop taking the medication while you have a transplant procedure, which will allow the follicles to regrow.
Humira injection pen is a biologic drug made by AbbVie. It is jointly manufactured by Abbott Laboratories and Johnson & Johnson.
Sometimes, people have trouble accessing the Humira medication due to its high price tag. The brand is expensive to purchase at retail pricing. Your insurance company may only cover the cost up to a certain limit, like $4,000 per year or $10,000 lifetime maximum.
You may still be able to get the drug with an authorized prescription from any provider who participates in your plan; this can help you avoid paying full price.
Humira is a medication that is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, and chronic plaque psoriasis. It is used to slow down the progress of these diseases.
The drug works by blocking certain proteins in the immune system which causes inflammation. It comes as an injection because it can’t be taken by mouth due to stomach irritation.
The medication used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, plaque psoriasis, chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and hidradenitis suppurativa. It may also be prescribed for other conditions.
A potential side effect of the drug is an infection of the injection site. The medication must never be taken without a doctor’s prescription. The side effects are due to the medication itself or due to its interaction with other medications.
If you enjoyed reading this article about Humira Injection uses and side effects, you may want to checkout Lupus Symptoms in Women – Lupus Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment.
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