Humira (adalimumab)

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

Humira® (adalimumab) is a biologic treatment that may help to reduce symptoms for certain people with moderate or severe inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). IBD includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.1-3

In the United States, Humira is approved to treat people with moderate or severe Crohn’s disease who are 6 years of age and older. It is also approved for children 5 years of age and older and adults who have moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis.3

What are the ingredients in Humira?

The active ingredient is adalimumab.3

How does Humira work?

People with IBD may have immune systems that make too much of a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. Too much TNF-alpha can cause inflammation in the digestive tract. This inflammation can lead to the signs and symptoms of IBD.1,2

Humira is a type of biologic medicine called an anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drug. Anti-TNF drugs block the TNF-alpha proteins that trigger inflammation. Humira can benefit some people with moderate-to-severe IBD by:1-3

  • Relieving the symptoms of IBD
  • Helping them to enter remission more quickly
  • Helping them to stay in remission for a longer time

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Humira include:3

  • 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.1,3

Other serious side effects of Humira may include:3

  • Reactivation of hepatitis B
  • Allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or hypersensitivity reaction
  • Nervous system problems
  • Heart failure
  • Blood problems
  • Autoimmune problems

These are not all the possible side effects of Humira. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Humira. Call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Humira.3

Other things to know

Humira is given as an injection under the skin.1,3

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.3

Your doctor will also test you for tuberculosis before starting treatment with Humira.3

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.3

You should not take Humira if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.3

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, tell your doctor before taking Humira.3

Before beginning treatment for IBD, 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.