Humira Drug Interactions

by on June 20, 2012

Humira (Adalimumab) is a prescription injection that is given to help relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis and many other inflammatory conditions which affect the digestive system, spine and joints. Administered either weekly or bi-weekly, the most common drugs which interact with Humira are various forms of live vaccinations such as the chickenpox and MMR vaccines (among others) and other medications which are prescribed for inflammatory conditions.

Significant Humira Drug Interactions

The active ingredient in Humira is called adalimumab. This ingredient is known as a human monoclonal antibody, which means that it helps to suppress the parts of the body that are responsible for causing inflammation. Two of the most common Humira drug interactions occur between Anakinra and Etanercept (known as Kineret and Enbrel respectively). If Humira is used in conjunction with these drugs, it may result in the patient having a severely compromised immune system. This means that the patient will be more susceptible to contracting sicknesses and infections that are doing the rounds. Patients need to advise their doctor if they are using any of the abovementioned drugs before using Humira.

Humira Drug Interactions with Live Vaccinations

Because Humira is known to compromise the immune system, it is important for patients to be aware of the risk that is posed with regards to having live vaccinations while on this medication. Patients should ensure that no live vaccinations are administered to them during the time of treatment. This is because of the fact that they stand a very high chance of contracting the very disease which they were vaccinated against. Examples of live vaccinations include those that are administered for chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), polio, yellow fever, smallpox, Rotavirus, the BCG vaccine (used to prevent Tuberculosis in some countries) and FluMist (only the nasal flu vaccine is a live vaccine).

Why Live Vaccinations Should be Avoided While Using Humira

Because live vaccinations contain live bacteria and viruses, patients who use Humira should not have these vaccinations until they are no longer using the medication. There is also the possibility that Humira can cause these vaccinations to become less effective or even be completely ineffective. Other interactions may occur if the patient is already using other prescribed medications, so it is always important for them to fully disclose which medications they are using with their doctor before taking Humira. Patients who already have a compromised immune system due to chronic disease or other medications and supplements they may be using should also not use this drug before they consult with their doctor.

While Humira drug interactions may not occur with everyone, it is important for the patient to advise their doctor immediately if they do arise, as a compromised immune system or allergic reactions can be life-threatening in severe situations. Patients suffering from congestive heart failure, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis B, blood or clotting disorders, any form or history of cancer or allergies to food, preservatives and dye should advise their doctor before using this drug.