Humira (adalimumab) is administered every other week as a subcutaneous injection; this is a shallow injection into a fatty area such as the abdomen or thigh. You will be taught to inject yourself with Humira by a healthcare professional: do not inject yourself with Humira until you have been properly taught. If you find it difficult to give yourself the injection, a relative may be able to give it, or a nurse. Never inject another person with your medication, even if they appear to have the same symptoms as you.
Humira comes in a pre-filled pen or syringe. To administer an injection with Humira, gather your medication and wash your hands. Then, wash the injection site with an alcoholic skin wipe. Injections are usually made into the abdomen or thigh; rotate your injection site, and never inject into damaged or broken skin.
Take the lid off the Humira syringe. Leave the area to dry, then pinch up some skin with one hand, and with your dominant hand hold the syringe like a pencil at 90° to your skin and inject the Humira. A loud click will occur when you press the plunger, and when you have finished the window display will have a yellow marker over it if you use the injection pen, or the syringe will be empty if you use this. The injection will take 10 seconds. Press some cotton wool or gauze onto the area afterwards for half a minute to prevent bruising from developing. If you are administering the medication to a child, your healthcare professional may provide you with some EMLA cream to rub onto the skin beforehand to numb it.
Dosage for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
For Adults and the Elderly: the starting dose is a 40mg injection every other week. This may be increased to 40mg weekly. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may also have to take an extra medication weekly called methotrexate. This tablet also treats rheumatoid arthritis, and the combination of Humira and methotrexate is very effective.
Dosage for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
For Children 15kg-29kg: a 20mg injection every other week.
For Children 30kg and above: a 40mg injection every other week.
Dosage for Crohn’s Disease
For Adults and the Elderly: initially a dose of 160mg is administered. Two weeks later 80mg is given, and then following this a maintenance schedule of 40mg every other week is used.
Dosage for Psoriasis
For Adults and the Elderly: an initial 80mg injection, followed by a 40mg injection every other week.
What to Remember when taking Humira
- Firstly, it is important to remember that Humira is usually taken every other week. It is a useful idea to mark on a calendar when to take your Humira, or to keep a drug diary so you do not get confused and take too much or too little medication.
- It is important to store your medication properly; Humira should be kept in your refrigerator. Try to keep it away from children. You should not freeze it or drop it as the syringe may break. If the medication looks different to usual, for example if the liquid is cloudy or flaky, do not use the medication. Ensure you use Humira before the expiration date.
- If you develop any kind of infection, it is important to check with your physician whether you can take your next dose of Humira, because it reduces the functioning of your immune system. Symptoms of an infection include: coughs, shivers, muscle aches, burning sensation on urinating, abdominal pains and diarrhoea.
- You should stop using Humira and visit your physician if you develop an allergic reaction to the medication. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include a rash, hives, difficulty in breathing, and a swollen face. If you develop any other new symptoms whilst taking Humira, go and see your physician.