Humira is a medication that relieves pain and reduces inflammation in those who have any one of a number of autoimmune diseases, such as psoriatic arthritis, Crohn's disease, chronic plaque psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few. This drug is considered to be a biologic drug, which is a product which has been made from living organisms or use components of living organisms. These helpful medications are made by using protein antibodies from humans, animals, microorganisms, and even yeast. Biologics like vaccines, blood, blood components, genes, tissues, and recombinant proteins are used to treat numerous conditions and diseases. Producing the proteins by using DNA technology, it is a type of genetic engineering.
How Humira Works
Because of autoimmune disease, one's immune system detects and then falsely attacks nonexistent threats in the body, which can lead to a number of conditions and diseases, like psoriasis, Crohn's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Experts aren't sure what causes these autoimmune diseases, but they believe that tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa) appears to be the primary culprit causing inflammation. TNFa causes inflammation when the body is threatened to make the immune system go on the attack. Having too much TNFa can lead to the attack on healthy tissue, causing inflammation which may lead to pain. Humira works by binding to the TNFa, effectively blocking its inflammatory effects. For those with autoimmune diseases such as those discussed above, Humira can reduce both pain and inflammation.
According to clinical trials, Humira is effective for treating a variety of autoimmune diseases and has been approved for the following conditions:
- Active ankylosing spondylitis
- Chronic plaque psoriasis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Crohn's disease
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hidradenitis suppurativa
- Non-infectious uveitis
How to Take Humira
As a long-term treatment, Humira patients respond differently to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Some patients may see benefits in as little as two weeks, while others may take three months or more for any improvement to be recognized. For best results, the patient should follow the recommended treatment plan closely. Don't stop taking Humira without the advice of a doctor. Patients who have stopped taking Humira may experience an overactive immune system again.
Humira's manufacturer, Abbvie, recommends injecting the drug directly into the thighs or abdomen by using a prefilled syringe or pen. Injections should not be made in skin that is tender or bruised or in patches of psoriasis. Generally, patients administer this medication to themselves. A syringe may contain ten, twenty, or forty milligrams of medicine while a single-use pen holds forty milligrams.
After a starting dose, patients have regular doses every second week. However, a doctor will advise the patient on the proper specific dosage for him or her. In addition to specific dosage instructions, there are special storage instructions as well. A doctor will show the patient how to use the Humira syringe or pen prior to use, but the patient should still read through the full instructions thoroughly.
TIP: The patient should practice first with a doctor, another health care professional, or close friend/family to make sure the pen click doesn't startle him or her when administering the shot.
How Much Does Humira Cost?
The price of brand name Humira is $6600 a month. However, with insurance, one may be able to procure a prescription of only five dollars a month, depending on what kind of prescription coverage the patient has. Copays of Humira may vary from five dollars up to three hundred dollars (and sometimes more) when the patient has prescription insurance. There is also copay assistance from the drug's manufacturer available as well. The generic form of Humira, adalimumab, is available for around $1662 a month, with copays costing about the same as the brand name amounts. However, with assistance being available for the name brand, most patients will most likely go that route.
A Humira website advertises the medication for as little as five dollars, so those with little or no income will most likely qualify for some kind of discount. The site offers a Humira Savings Card which brings the price of the drug down no matter which pharmacy the patient uses. To qualify, a patient only needs to choose which of the following categories he or she may belong to:
- is using an employee or retiree commercial prescription coverage,
- is paying a large deductible and out-of-pocket expenses,
- is receiving coverage via Medicare, or
- is unemployed or uninsured.
Each category provides information on how to get the lowest priced Humira available to each patient.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker