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Humira Side Effects, Complications and Interactions

Humira has the most sales (in dollars) in the world. It's a billion dollar baby. How good is it for auto-immune disorders? What about Humira Side Effects?
A man with a diagnosis of polyarthritis (severe stage) . The local clinic diagnosed inability to treat the disease at this stage. Russia.

Humira (adalimumab) is the best selling drug (in dollars) in the U.S. (and around the world). Sales were listed between $13 and $16 billion in 2016. That is an unbelievable amount of money for a single medication. To put it into perspective, the first billion dollar drug in America was Tagamet (cimetidine) for ulcers. In 1987 people considered its sales of of $1.13 billion unprecedented. Physicians prescribed Tagamet for a wide range of digestive disorders affecting millions of people.

Humira: Huge Sales Despite Orphan Status:

It’s not because so many people take Humira that it earns so much money. Humira is categorized as an orphan drug to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and uveitis (a severe inflammatory eye disease). Orphan status provides special perks to drug companies (see this link for more details).

Orphan drugs were once considered unprofitable. The Oxford American Dictionary defines an orphan drug as “a pharmaceutical that remains commercially undeveloped owing to limited potential for profitability.” The FDA originally considered such medications as “significant drugs of limited commercial value.” Clearly, that is not the case for Humira.

A carton with two prefilled syringe “pens” of Humira can cost over $4,500. At that price it is easy to understand how the sales of this injectable medication have soared. People generally get an injection every other week (two shots a month).

Other “indications” for Humira include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis. Many people consider Humira a miracle. Others see Humira side effects as worrisome. We’re going to provide the pros and cons so you can determine the benefit/risk ratio for yourself.

TNF (Tissue Necrosis Factor) and Your Immune System:

When your immune system detects something out of whack in your body it activates compounds designated tumor necrosis factors (TNFs). Whether it is a bacterial infection or a viral invasion, TNF is created to fight off the foreign invaders. If you come down with the flu your body will make TNF as one of the first lines of defense to combat the virus (Journal of Virology, Feb., 2002).

If “tumor” and “necrosis” caught your attention you are also on target. Necrosis comes from the greek word nekrosis, which means “becoming dead” or the death of cells or tissues. In other words, tumor necrosis factor has anti-tumor activity and may play a key role in cancer detection and therapy (Oncotarget, Oct., 2011; Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, online, July 14, 2017).

The First TNF Blockers: Enbrel, Remicade and Humira

First came Enbrel (etanercept) in 1998. It was designated a “biological” drug in that it was created by utilizing human DNA transplanted into ovarian cells of hamsters. This led to the creation of proteins that had been genetically engineered. It was called a TNF-inhibiting drug in that it grabs onto tissue necrosis factor. Remicade (infliximab) came next in 1999. This monoclonal antibody (“mab“) blocks tissue necrosis factor-alpha. Humira arrived in 2002.

These drugs have been especially helpful for autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. When traditional medications (DMARDs or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) don’t do the job, doctors often turn to the TNF blockers.

Sarah in the United Kingdom shares this experience with Humira:

“I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis [RA] for nine years. It’s been incredibly painful. I write for a living so I need my hands to function. I’ve managed to hold down a job even though during the worst flares my hands were bent and looked like claws.

“Two years ago numerous medications had done nothing to relieve the RA. After 10 months on prednisolone, which worked for RA, but caused all sorts of other horror, I started on Humira (adalimumab). It’s completely changed my life. 99% of the time you’d never even know I had RA. Flares are practically unheard of. My hands look completely normal and no longer like claws. Even the fatigue has pretty much abated. And I’ve suffered absolutely no side effects.

“All in all, for me, it’s been a miracle cure. I know the US medical system is poles apart from the UK and that Humira is very expensive there. It gave me my life back.”

Not surprisingly, such stories have stoked sales of drugs like Humira. That is why these are billion-dollar bonanzas for the drug companies. But not everyone experiences such success without complications.

Humira Side Effects:

The first thing you discover when you look at the official prescribing information for Humira (adalimumab) is a black box titled:


“Patients treated with HUMIRA are at increased risk for developing serious infections that may lead to hospitalization or death.”

Doctors are warned about “reactivation of latent TB” and “invasive fungal infections, including histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, candidiasis, aspergillosis, blastomycosis, and pneumocystosis.” These are not easy infections to overcome. In addition, the black box warning lists

“bacterial, viral and other infections due to opportunistic pathogens, including Legionella and Listeria.”

Physicians are encouraged to “monitor patients closely for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with HUMIRA…”

A systematic review published in Expert Opinion on Drug Safety (Dec., 2016) concluded that:

“Our study encompassed data from 71 randomized controlled trials involving 22,760 participants and seven open label extension studies with 2,236 participants. Quantitative synthesis of the available data found statistically significant increases in the occurrence of any infections (20%), serious infections (40%), and tuberculosis (250%) associated with anti-TNF drug use, while the data for opportunistic infections were scarce.”

MALIGNANCY (from the FDA’s black box warning)

“Lymphoma and other malignancies, some fatal, have been reported in children and adolescent patients treated with TNF blockers including HUMIRA.”

Despite these ominous FDA-mandated warnings, the science linking TNF blockers to cancer remains controversial. One overview (Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, Dec. 2016) concluded:

“There was no evidence of an association between anti-TNF agents and cancer risk…We found evidence of selective outcome reporting or publication bias suggesting that the pooled effect estimate for cancer may have been overestimated.”

It remains to be seen whether the risk of lymphoma or other malignancies will show up in coming years as people have longer exposures to these TNF-inhibiting drugs.

Other Humira Side Effects:

  • Injection Site Reactions: because these drugs are delivered by shot, the complications in that area include redness, itching, pain, swelling and/or bleeding.
  • Serious Infections: pneumonia, septic arthritis, prosthetic and post-surgical infections, cellulitis, diverticulitis and pyelonephritis.
  • Liver enzyme elevations: liver damage
  • Upper Respiratory tract infections: sinusitis, flu-like symptoms
  • Digestive tract distress: nausea, stomach pain
  • Blood lipid changes: elevations in blood cholesterol
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Back pain, pain in other extremities
  • Urinary tract infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Bone pain, muscle cramps, tendon disorders
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cancers: lymphoma, leukemias, skin cancer
  • Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)
  • Heart failure, irregular heart rhythms
  • Autoimmune disorders (lupus-like syndrome, sarcoidosis)

Stories from Readers about Humira Side Effects:

A long list of Humira side effects is virtually meaningless to health professionals and patients alike. That’s because most people zone out after the first few words. They assume that none of those nasty complications could possibly apply to them. Here are some real-world experiences from visitors to this website:

Muddy in Alabama writes:

“I have had two shots of Humira every other week. I have been so sick that I was in the emergency room. All they could say was it was due to the Humira. I just wondered what damage it has done to my body? I am more sick now than with RA. No more Humira for me.”

Deloris shared this reaction after various biologics:

“I was diagnosed with RA two and half years ago. The moderate pain and joint destruction have remained the same throughout that time. I’ve taken methotrexate and prednisone since the onset, and my rheumatologist has tried many biologics to get my disease under control. The first was Cimzia.

“After only 3 doses, I stopped it due to sudden and severe muscle pain. TNF blockers are not to be given to people with MS, which I don’t have. However, I have permanent muscle and nerve damage from taking simvastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug. I have enough muscle pain already. I don’t need any new agony presented by a TNF blocker.”

Hillary in Florida adds this note of caution:

“I have been taking Enbrel since 1998 for RA. It did give me a better life, with less pain. I was told of the risks, but when you have severe pain, you’ll deal with it.

“Forward to 2015. After a routine mammogram and further tests, I was diagnosed with CLL, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. What a shock. But the doctor said it is a slow cancer, with no real cure. So treatment is ‘watch & wait.’ I have no symptoms and refused to stop Enbrel.

“I have also had a major issue with wound healing after a TAR revision in 2015. This could be due to Enbrel and/or CLL.”

“It’s a terrible position to be in. Without Enbrel, I’d be in severe pain. But now I have CLL and healing issues.”

Cathy in North Carolina shared this infection reaction:

“I have been on Remicade for two years for ulcerative colitis (UC). I try to avoid being around people who are sick. I have had two colds that evolved into double ear infections and had to go on antibiotics each time.

“If I get sick, it takes about four weeks to get over. Because I had breast cancer 12 years ago I still see a medical oncologist. She and I talk about the lymphoma risk. I have had UC for 30 years and feel fortunate to not have had to go on more aggressive therapy until now.”

Kay had to take prednisone to overcome Humira side effects:

“In 2015 I was hospitalized for three days following a terrible reaction to Humira. I received IV prednisone over those three days which eliminated the spinal and brain inflammation caused by the Humira.”

Bob had a terrible skin rash from a TNF blocker:

“I took my first Humira shot and one week later I woke up with whole body rash. This rash progressed on me for two days. It itched and burned and it made its way on to my face giving me a butterfly rash. The slightest amount of sun was burning like I had a bad sunburn. I went to the ER at 1:30 am and they didn’t know what to do so they told me to take Benadryl. Then they sent me home.

“I went to an urgent care facility and the doctor there gave me prednisone to help with the rash. It’s a week later and the rash has cleared some but I still have it. I felt all alone during this time. When you watch you body being attacked by a foreign substance it makes you really evaluate your reasons for subjecting yourself to such a risk.

“I will never ever take a drug like this again. Since this has happened I am trying to share my story because this can happen to anyone. I have read a lot of bad stories with this since my little ordeal and don’t think you’re immune to these same issues.”

Humira Drug Interactions:

First, we cannot list all the potential drug interactions with Humira. The list is just too long. Please make sure your health care providers know ALL the medicines you are taking so they can double check to make sure you are not getting into trouble.

Live vaccines are a potential problem. Before getting vaccine against shingles or other live vaccines, ask if there could be a serious problem!

Other biologicals (monoclonal antibodies with “mab” in the generic name. Such drugs may increase the risk of serious infections.

Antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin) may not work as well with Humira on board.

Carbamazepine (Tegretol) may not work as well to control seizures.

Statins (some cholesterol-lowering drugs like atorvastatin, fluvastatin or simvastatin may not work as well as expected)

This is just a partial list of drug interactions. Please double-check with your provider to make sure you are not getting into trouble with other medicines you take. Ask the physician, nurse practitioner or PA to use the drug-interaction checker on the computer and notify you if there are any worrisome combinations.

Want to read more about TNF blockers? Here is a link to an article we wrote about this class of medications.

Share your own Humira story below in the comment section.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Thank you so much, Joe and Terry, for this interesting article about Humira. We are considering it for a family member with Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Not sure whether or not it’s worth the risk. The Dr. (who is a HS specialist and was in such a big rush during the visit) would not answer a question about one of our concerns about this drug even though we expressed this concern twice. Then yesterday a Humira representative came to our house in order to answer any questions that we may have and answered most of our concerns by personal experience only from working with Humira patients. We were looking for facts backed up by studies. We asked her why our Dr. would not talk to us about Humira, and she replied that speaking with a Dr. could be difficult. Finally we called our pharmacy, and they informed us that they will not sell Humira. This means that they probably will not talk to us about our Humira concerns.

This leads me to one question (if I have not put you and your readers to sleep with my rambling) – Where can we find someone who can give us a highly qualified and unbiased opinion about Humira? We do not mind paying for this advice. Do you offer paid consults? We have been listening to your high quality radio show for decades and truly appreciate all of the peace that you have brought us. You have made us healthy and whole. Thank you.

My then 8 year old daughter was on methotrexate and Humira for about 6 years to get and keep her uveitis under control. She developed joint pain immediately, and her eye doc and rheumatologist assumed she had idiopathic juvenile arthritis. Her joint pain eventually was in nearly every joint in her body, including her jaw. It got to a point where she couldn’t walk and had to use a wheelchair to get around at school.

We took her off Humira, and the joint pain got better, but now, at age 16, she still has significant joint pain in her hands, knees and lower back. Drs have ruled out RA since there is no inflammation at all, only pain, and they have not figured out the cause. I’m looking for others who have had this experience so we can know if she will ever again be able to run, jump and participate in sports without the chronic pain. And what, if anything, can be done besides frequent visits to a pediatric pain clinic?

I’ve been on Humira for 10 weeks. It was prescribed as an almost last resort to treat my Crohn’s as I negatively react to everything else, including steroids I noticed moderate to severe joint pain in the first 6 weeks. To be honest, I have osteoarthritis in my knees but a few more other joints were affected after taking Humira. Also, I have swollen feet. The pain in my ankles and toes has gone but I am now getting muscle pain, cramps, and stiffness, especially in my left arm and right leg and chest. The pain in my arm and leg is constant. Also I suffer from panic disorder but the panic attacks I’ve had recently have increased to a much higher level of intensity. I still get diarrhoea but no more flare-ups.

Everyone has variable reactions to drugs, Humira included. I’ve been on Humira at a double dose (one shot a week) for 4 years for Crohn’s disease. It has kept my gut symptoms at bay very well and in general, I’ve experienced few side effects. Once, however, I caught a simple rotavirus that resulted in an ambulance ride to the ER and a three day hospital stay because my symptoms were so severe. They mimicked cellulitis with a very high fever and confused state so I was treated at first with lots of different IV antibiotics, none of which turned out was needed once the virus diagnosis was determined.

I have not found Humira to be effective on my non-gut Crohn’s symptoms: interstitial lung disease and Sicca syndrome (extremely dry eyes and mouth) — both diagnosed through biopsies — and the latter came about only recently. But I appreciate not suffering from constant gut pain, bleeding and diarrhea.

I started Humira last year to treat ulcerative colitis. For 8 months I was symptom-free, and it felt incredible to have my life back, but then the problems started. It began with aching joints and pins and needles and a constant stuffy nose. The skin on my septum even began to start peeling. I spent winter with constant coughs and colds. In April this year I was hospitalized with a severe opportunistic infection throughout my colon which passed through to my ovaries. I also have developed 3 types of psoriasis which the dermatologist confirmed is a paradoxical auto immune condition caused by Humira (a drug normally used to treat psoriasis !).

It seems that Humira works pretty well for the vast majority for a period time but at some point problems start, adverse reactions, antibodies etc. I just don’t think that this drug has been around long enough for doctors to understand the negative long term effects of its usage. Take with caution and only if weaker alternatives have failed.

Horrible drug. Causes so many terrible, life-changing side effects. This drug should be banned.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease by my VA doctor in 2013. After several rounds of multiple treatments I started taking Humira in 2015. I saw immediate results in not having any more multiple flareups but I still had some bleeding from time to time. I would also experience what I called the “humira hangover” where my body would ache and hurt for 5-10 days after taking 40mg injections every other Tuesday. After taking Humira for about 6 months I noticed that I was having more joint pain in my knees and elbows along with rashes that would develop on my face, arms legs, buttocks and groin area which was the worst to the point that my skin split open.

I informed by Doctor about the skin issues. He gave me skin creams and powders for it. The final straw for me was that I kept getting sick over and over again with various infections, elevated levels of lactic acid and stomach issues that made me vomit on occasions. In 2018 I finally stopped taking Humira after having a E.R. trip turn into an overnight stay an hr away from my home.

It has been almost a year since I have taken my last shot and I am worse off now than I was before taking humira. I have lost over 40 pounds because when I eat I feel full instantly like I just had a large holiday meal from Grandma’s house. I have mental confusion, and it is very hard to stay focused on topics and tasks. I didn’t even realize how my mood is horrible now that I can get upset very easily.

I already have PTSD from my service time, but now I am even more irritable than ever, not to mention my hands and feet are ice cold and numb all the time to the point I have to sit under a comforter and a heater to feel some relief. Even typing this post is a struggle. I would rather have the diarrhea everyday than to live like I am now. I have had labs done, anal scopes, and an upper tummy scope as well. Right now I have bacteria in my stomach that I have to take antibiotics for, which might cause me to flare up again because in the past antibiotics have started flares all over again.

I still get bumps filled with liquid on my buttocks and face with dry itchy patches randomly. I have inflammation in my lower colon and rectum (hemmorhoids) and I have a hernea as well..At this point I am literally EXHAUSTED. I just want one part of my life to be normal again. I now am looking to more natural alternative to heal my body or at least give me some type of relief.

I took Humira for six years for P.A. Prior to taking humira I could barely walk from the pain and swelling in my feet, and my skin broke out with psoriasis all over. After taking one injection every two weeks I went completely back to normal. No psoriasis, no pain in my feet, no swelling, it was a miracle. I never had one side effect in all that time.

In January 2018 terrible flus and viruses were going around – everyone I knew had something, and I got an upper respiratory virus. During that time I went off Humira to heal, which took a few weeks, and stayed off Humira for eight months. Everything was great but after eight months my skin flared, and I tried Otezla pills for three months, and they did nothing for me.

I just started back on Humira yesterday, and I already see an improvement in my skin in one day. I know people who do great with Otezla so my doctor told me everyone is different – it didn’t work for me. I give Humira two thumbs up. We’ll see what happens this time.

My daughter has been diagnosed with RA at 17. She has a birth control control implant in her arm (nexplanon). She hasn’t had any bleeeing until she started taking humira. She has taken it twice now and the first time was some spotting but the second time she had a 4 day menstration. Prior to this she has been on this implant with no bleeding for a year or two.

OBGYN dr is wanting us to see if she bleeds again next time she takes the shot before deciding if we should remove the implant. RA Doctor is pointing to OBGYN Dr for recommendation.

Also have been reading about the Chilton Diet program. Starting to work on changing her diet.

She also is taking methotrexate at the RA Dr’s advise while she is taking Humira. Is asking she stay on both for 3 months while the according to her the humira will kick in.

Anybody else have any experience with menstral bleeding with the implant after taking the humira shot?

I have been on azathioprine for UC for many years (10) and have now been diagnosed, after five years of seeing different doctors due to foot, ankle, wrist and finger pain, with inflammatory arthritis and possibly RA – negative factor (meaning I have it even though my blood work says I don’t.) My arthritis doctor is recommending Humira but after all of these reviews I am very concerned. I have gotten a rash from being on too heavy of a dose of asacol in the past, and I have had a heat/burning rash from any sun exposure from my use of UC meds in general (it was super bad this past summer and I had to go on two different allergy meds – Benadryl and Cetirizine – AND take a topical steroidal cream). I also got sick last May, from my oldest daughters getting sick while going through finals week, and it took me 6 weeks to get over that upper respiratory infection, so I’m worried now about taking what seems to be an even more powerful drug than the azathiaprine. The doctor is just waiting for me to get one last blood test and a chest x-ray to be sure I wouldn’t be prone to getting pneumonia and then wants me on it. I think I will slow the decision down a bit and visit with my UC doctor and also seek some more natural remedies first. By the way, for all inflammatory arthritis sufferers out there, I’ve found that taking colder baths or showers or swimming in colder water does wonders! I swam in a mountain lake a while back and my arthritis was gone for days.

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis about two and a half years ago. I started on methotrexate for over a year and my liver enzymes became elevated and had to stop. Methotrexate helped the psoriasis but not the severe knee pain that I was experiencing. I receive injections every 3 months to both knees and still do today. They started me on humira which I took for about 14 months and I have now stopped. This medication I thought was a cure in the beginning. I would NEVER take it again! I had many many side effects.
Nightmare and fell out of bed twice
Memory loss
Rash on entire stomach that took weeks to go away
Flu symptoms multiple times
Last for me was 11 days in bed and thought I was going to die. Er said virus! Fever night sweats that I could wring my shirt out. Too sick to sleep but to sick to sit up!

I was diagnosed with RA 2014 and put on methotrexate. There was some improvement but I still had a lot of pain which meant I was on slow release brufen all the time in order to function. Only steroid injections made me feel normal.

Put on a Humira as well as the Mxt and I’ve had 4 injections so far. I’m seriously wondering about continuing. I’ve had headaches, nausea stomach ache and palpitations but worst of all lower back pain which is unbearable. Nothing takes it away. I can’t do anything as I can hardly move.

At first, I thought it was a back spasm related to lifting but 2 weeks of treatment it’s worse if anything.

If I thought the side effects would lessen and go eventually I would continue so I’ll see what the Rheumy team say. It hasn’t improved the RA yet anyway and so far I feel worse than I did before. Shame as I had big expectations of this drug.

I have been diagnosed with Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis. On 2nd month of Humira, and I have been experiencing severe headaches and nausea for a few days after injection. Most times I just tough it out, but this past weekend I was bed-ridden. It was horrible. My psoriasis appears to be clearing a little but the arthritis symptoms are still present. My hands get so stiff, and it hurts to walk, and I have lower back pain. I exercise regularly. I won’t quit. But I am seriously considering stopping Humira because for me the side effects just aren’t worth it. My dr. says to give it at least 3 months to see if any effects on the arthritis, but I’m skeptical. I’d rather deal with the skin problems and joint pain than add more to my plate (side effects).

The offical product info / package insert about Humira clearly states that it is not compatible with Methotrexate. Your Doctor should have known this.

I have been on Humira now for just over two months for treating Birdshot, an inflammatory eye disease. I was on Cellcept and prednisone, and both made me feel terrible so they put me on Humira. All was well for a month. I felt much better than before but this last two weeks the aches and pains in joints have started. I am 54, was very sporty but now I seem to be walking like a cowboy after 10 hours in the saddle, and I am getting worried about how slow I have become.

I saw the Dr yesterday, who has requested blood tests. I have also been taking circumin but can’t believe it’s that! I am not sure what to think at the moment, and if I don’t take something for the eye inflammation I will lose my sight little by little.

I was prescribed Humira for Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis. I started the treatment about 3 months ago, a total of 6 shots. My arthritis pain was mainly in my lower back, but about 2 weeks into my treatment, I started waking up really stiff, specially my hands. Mildly painful for a while, and I thought this might be a case where it gets worse before it gets better, so I continued with the shots. But the pain and weakness has increased 10 fold, in places where I have not had pain before this treatment, my hands, elbows and shoulders, and my plaque psoriasis did not go down any.

I went back to the doctor and we have stopped the Humira. He wanted to try something else right away, but I am hesitant to start anything else until Humira is out of my system completely. I has been 3 weeks since my last shot, but my pain and weak limbs was so bad yesterday, I could not lift my arm.

Does anyone know how long does it take for this medicine to get out of your system, and does stopping it fix any of the issues it has caused, or am I going to have to deal with this additional pain going forward?
I see the question has been asked before, but I do not see a response.

Humira has a half life of 10-20 days. So after 10-20 days, about half would still remain in your system. About 100 days or 3 months to be fully out.

Your doctor would be aware of any issue with starting a new drug while some remnants of the Humira were still in your system.

I began on Humira in March of 2017. Had been diagnosed with RA in August of 2016 and was prescribed Methotrexate, and it relieved my symptoms somewhat but after about 6 months my Dr. suggested Humira. Otherwise my quality of life was going to continue to decline. Humira has been working, and I can get back to activities such as playing golf, which I had quit because of the pain in hands and wrists. Now, just recently, November I had two Squamous Cell Carcinomas removed, which came on fast as per my dermatologist. Well, at least that was what he thought they were. As it turns out, they were a Benign Kerotosis, which was a relief. I have been very concerned about taking Humira because of the side effects possible with this drug. But, I do have to say that it is working because I am able to play golf again and feel fairly well.

I am fighting some rash on my shins and they are clearing up with Tea Tree Oil but, here again, I think it is due to the Humira weakening my immune system. I have read the blogs and become quite concerned about the long term effects, but I am 66 years old, and my years remaining are limited so I feel that for what time is remaining I want as much quality as I can get. From this point on I will likely continue to take the Humira shots but I am going to continue to evaluate and challenge my doctor along the way.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 1997. Had two major operations within 18 months, as well as a few hospitalizations. Was in all sorts of meds the first two years with no success. Then Imuran for 15 years until it stopped working. During those years I suffered weekly symptoms.

Been on Humira now for almost five years, and have been in clinical remission. It is my miracle drug!! I do get more infections and longer ones, but the alternative is severe pain and fatigue constantly along with hospitalizations from inflammation. I have no weekly symptoms any more, and just a small flare each year.

I have been on Humira for almost 6 years. I was hit with Psoriatic Arthritis in the few years before I started. What had started as a couple swollen joints progressed throughout my body. Most severely affected (life style wise) was my right heel. I could not walk without severe pain. Ultimately it spread to all of my right foot, my back, neck and shoulders. I was exhausted constantly and in immense pain. By exhausted I mean I would wake up and feel like I had not slept in months. Methotrexate pills, methotrexate injected, and one other DMARD drug did not help AT ALL. Prednisone in high dose did but was awful. I was at the point of tears just waking up in the morning and taking around 5,000-6,000mg of(25-30 pills) of Advil a day just to have some type of normalcy. Not to toot my own horn, but I am strong and resilient to pain. For me to get to the point of tears is unusual, a combination of pain and utter frustration.

I was hesitant to start biologic drugs. Within 24 hours of my initial injection, 90% of my pain was gone. Over the following months I regained total joint movement and pain was down 99%. To this day, I occasionally feel “achy” but at the very worst, it is maybe 5% of what I felt at the peak. I have ZERO side effects. Colds/flus….no different than before. The injection is a bit painful but oh well. I feel NORMAL.

For every horror story you read, there are 5,000 that have nothing but positive outcomes. It sucks that some have had such serious reactions. There is a risk, but it is not as bad as it is made out to be. Myself? I am now 40. I would rather die at 50 than live to 60 in the pain I was in, I cannot imagine hell being much worse than what I was dealing with. Whatever in Gods name triggered my disease, I have nearly forgotten what I dealt with for years. All thanks to a biologic drug.

Research it for sure. But research all stories of it, and the actual risks not the dramatic reactions to reading the potential side effects. If I could go back in time I would have started a year early. I was fighting going on Humira, simply because of the fear of it. I suffered needlessly for that year.

My 11-year-old son was just diagnosed with Crohn’s. In a very brief meeting with the doctor, he recommended Humira for treatment. The only side effect discussed was the possible increase for cancer. None of the other side effects were mentioned.

Luckily, my husband and I didn’t feel comfortable making a commitment right then and there. For the past week, we have been doing a lot of research on our own. I am thankful I found this site. It reaffirms my initial hesitations about the drug. We are looking to start with a more diet based approach.

A possible place to talk to is http://www.karenhurd.com. I have been to her and her diet and lifestyle changes help. I know you aren’t very near to her but she does phone appointments. Please look at her site and read her background and success stories.

THANK YOU FOR THIS COMMENT – I was recently diagnosed and will begin Humira soon. I have been fearful about starting it – but I too have no option because my psa is pretty fast and I have deteriated in the last year. So thank you for sharing a success story.

Hi, I have been taking Humira for a year as of August. At first I thought it might be working, but then I started getting sick with constipation, vomiting, sweats. I have been told these are the side effects of the Humira. Before I took Humira I took Imuran for a few months and had to stop. It made me feel even worse. I’ve used all my sick and vacation days due to feeling like crude. I meet with my GI next week, and I am going to tell her I don’t want to be on it anymore. I’ve found another dr that thinks she can help me in more natural ways. Fingers crossed!

hello Christy , would like to know if you have met with that Doctor that wanted to treat you with natural remedies? If so, how are you doing? Ive been on Humira way to long , ive never been so sick. Im presently going for antibody blood work , they think i might have developped antibodies againts the treatment. I realy need to know about others who went with that alternative and if so how are you doing. thanks , hope to get a reply

I have Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). While, it’s unfortunate that Humira has not been a good choice for some, it has changed my life! I would not be as active as I am today. It’s granted me opportunities to be healthier, active, confident and motivated instead of confined and embarrassed by my condition. I understand the hype from the drug companies and the objective of what may drive them but please know that there are individuals who benefit from these medications in ways you may not understand!

My son was recently Diagnosed with HS and he has hurely stage 2 & 3 on several areas of his body. He is in so much pain and has tried Isotretinoin, and several antibiotics. Now the Doctor says we should try Humira. We need something to helps this child….. Hoping this might do it.

I totally agree, it has changed my life also. Thanks Pamela

You took the words right from my mouth! I couldn’t agree more!

We believe my daughter got methemoglobinemia from taking Humera for her Crohns. It’s been a living nightmare this past year.

I was on Humira for approx. 6 years, to treat my Crohn’s disease. It was of moderate help to my Crohn’s, but I started to develop symptoms of what I thought was multiple sclerosis. Weakness and numbness in my arms and legs, which affected my walking and my manual dexterity. Only then did I see that Humira lists neurological disorders as a possible side effect.

My GI doctor agreed that I should discontinue it, adding that another patient had developed leukemia while taking it. My symptoms went away after stopping it, thank goodness, and I’m on Apriso now, which has much less severe side effects, and is just as effective in my case.

I know Humira helps many patients a great deal, but it scares me, and I now have a huge skepticism of powerful drugs and their equally powerful side effects. That’s why People’s Pharmacy and its emphasis on healthy living and safer alternatives is so important.

Hello, my Mum is experiencing these side effects (numbness especially) and has recently stopped the injection. Can you tell me roughly how long it took for the side effects to cease after stopping the injection? Many thanks.

Hi Kim – I started experiencing similar symptoms on Humira (dropped foot and related weakened muscles, arm and hand tingling, toe numbness, etc.) and, after a year of baffled medical specialists and clear test results, determined it was probably due to the Humira. I stopped taking it about a month ago and was wondering how long it took for your symptoms to go away completely.

My son was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, had a fistula which doctors tried to treat with antibiotics but ended in disaster when he developed Septicemia from contaminated drain tube with Mercer.

He managed to survive and they took out the affected intestine but then after several weeks his specialist wanted him to take Humira to keep the Crohn’s in check. As a retired nurse, I was skeptical considering he had such a severe infection, numerous MRI & radiation exposures predisposing him to cancer; knowing Humira contraindications would be infection; lymphoma risk.

His doctor however told him he would not be his doctor if he did not take the med so reluctantly my son took it. Now a year later it appears he has Lymphoma – has not has total work up for it yet but most likely they will want to bombard him with chemotherapy.

He is a single parent and can’t imagine how devastated his daughter will be if anything happens to him so I am wondering if there is anyone out there that has had success with alternate therapies for Crohn’s and Lymphoma.

I grew up around Native American culture that used natural healing methods and would like to find a good Naturepath or Practitioner knowledgeable in these 2 disorders.

Glenn Frye from The Eagles was on this for many years for RA. He developed UC and ended up in the hospital to have a good portion of his intestines removed. He developed pneumonia, immune system so suppressed that he couldn’t fight it off. So in essence, this drug was the beginning of the end for him.

I was diagnosed (wrongly, I might add) with Ankylosing Spondylosis. Went on Methotrexate and for 2-3 months. It was fine for about that time, until one morning I woke up with blood on my pillow. I had sores in my mouth to the point I couldn’t eat. But before the sores, I had the worst case of pneumonia I’ve ever had in my life!! I almost died.

I screamed in pain every time I coughed. Went to dr.-no help. Took me off Methotrexate and said (after the horrible pneumonia), “Now we’ll try Humira.” I replied “No, WE won’t” and I walked out of the office. I decided that I needed my immune system. I feel bad for the people who don’t have choices, but I will tell you that Humira is stuff to be left alone. Now I take Fish Oil, Primrose Oil and Cat’s Claw. It’s helping me alot. I will try anything natural now and I will NOT go back to that poison!!

But you never tried Humira, so you are out of place to criticize it so harshly. Reviews like yours, with absolutely no first hand experience with it, are what leads to scaring people.

If you were wrongly diagnosed, that is your Doctor that screwed up.

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2015 after 18 months and 10 doctors. I finally got to a Rheumatologist who is caring for me now. I was on Methotrexate for the first year and it did not lower my inflammation or pain.

My Dr. recommended Remicade infusions and I began them in April, 2017. The pain relief was almost instant. I have had 3 infusions and will begin maintenance (every two months) at the end of July.

I still take Methotrexate weekly. Working with my Rheumatologist and Primary Care Physician, the goal is to increase the time between infusions and lower my Methotrexate dosage. I have regular blood work done on a regular basis. I have had no side effects.

I know the risks and have read the side effects but at this point I feel like the benefits outweigh the risks. It would be nice to read some positive news on treatments once in awhile instead of having to live with terror every time you take a prescription medicine.

I have Osteo-arthritis. Rather than taking drugs, I went to the book, “Healing With Whole Foods”, by Paul Pitchford. Since arthritis is an auto-immune disease, it recommends foods that are good for it and lists many foods to avoid. At the end of that, he mentioned that many people don’t find relief until they give up dairy. Since starting that and giving up refined sugar, my life seems to be arthritis free. The occasional pizza with cheese seems to be fine.

Heavy amounts of sugary foods over a short time period, seeems to bring it back. I missed my easy noon time yogurt in the beginning –went back to it for a week and the arthritis came back also. Now I only use goat milk and goat milk yogurt, and occasionally sheep milk yogurt.

Anecdotal reports of side effects are compelling but to be fair and, most of all, to be scientific and rational you should provide the best evidence of the the incidence of these side effects. I am surprised that you who present yourselves as representing the “people” would fail to do this most elementary task.

Hello Wilbur,

Thank you for pointing out that it is important to be scientific. We completely agree. It is, however, sometimes hard to ascertain the long-term complications of medications.

When the pharmaceutical industry performs clinical trials they are quite good at determining efficacy compared to placebo. That is the way they seek FDA approval. We have learned over the years that many adverse reactions are not discovered during those RCTs (randomized clinical trials). It can take years for them to show up. Case in point: the diabetes complication associated with statins.

Here are the stats you requested:
Upper respiratory tract infection: 17%
Sinusitis: 11%
Flu syndrome: 7%
Nausea: 9%
Abdominal pain: 7%
Lab test abnormalities: 8%
High cholesterol: 6%
Liver enzyme elevation: 3%
Headache: 12%
Rash: 12%
Accidental injury: 10%
Injection site reaction: 8%
Back pain: 6%
Urinary tract infection: 8%
High blood pressure: 5%

The FDA does not provide percentages for other adverse reactions.

One final note. As you point out, anecdotes are not scientific. But drug companies bombard the public with TV commercials that frequently feature actors having a wonderful time. They create a compelling story of great success with drug X or Y. When it comes time for the scary side effects an announcer runs through the long list quickly as people continue to have what appears to be a good time, even when complications like cancer are mentioned.
Want to see what we are talking about? Here is a link to a commercial. Please note that the manufacturer does not provide statistics on effectiveness:

Wilber: This would be the pharmaceutical companies’ take on the matter, defending their products with statistics and randomized control trials. Many of us users had listened to this spiel only to suffer — sometimes permanently — from quirky, unexpected side effects, often dismissed my our prescribing physicians. As treatment with multiple prescription drugs becomes more complicated and dangerous, we MUST warn others of our experiences, and the People’s Pharmacy gives us that forum quite effectively.

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