Some More Details on Humira:
I was cleaning out the medicine cabinet today, and besides throwing out some old bottles of prednisone, azathioprine, and hydrocodine, I came across the “Drug Counseling Information” for Humira. This counseling came with the monthly overnight shipment of Humira from the drug company that was contracted to sell it to me.(I was taking Humira for a few months last year, about 10-shots of it in total).
Anyways, the four yellow pieces of paper are rather interesting. I will paraphrase what is written so you can have an idea for yourself:
Humira Drug Counseling Information:
After the date, my name, the prescription number, and the doctor’s name, there are the “Directions”. It stated:”Inject 4 pens (160MG total) subcutaneously as the first dose and then 2 pens (80MG) two weeks later. Keep refrigerated. Do not Freeze. Protect from light.”
Also there was the drug name: HUMIRA PEN with it’s generic name: ADALIMUMAB (strange name wouldn’t you say?)
Common Uses: it’s a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker used for treating:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis[JRA]
- psoriatic arthritis
- ankylosing spondylitis)
- It is also used to treat certain patients with moderate to severe Crohn disease and certain patients with chronic plaque psoriasis.
- It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Directions: given as an injection under the skin
- This medicine may cause dizziness or vision changes
- Do not drive until you know how you will react with this medicine
- Do not use more than the recommended dose
- tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills
- The TNF blockers may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer
- This medicine may reduce the number of clot forming cells in your body(platelets)
- It tells women not to breast feed while taking this medicine, and to tell your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this medicine
Possible Side Effects:
- back pain, headache
- mild pain
- redness, or swelling at the injection site
- sinus inflammation; or stomach pain. If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor.
- CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if you experience blood in the urine or stools; butterfly-shaped rash on the nose and cheeks; chest pain; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes; muscle pain or weakness; new or worsening joint pain; numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands or feet; open sore that does not heal; persistent cough; persistent pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; red, swollen, or blistered skin; severe or persistent headache or dizziness; severe or persistent stomach pain; shortness of breath; signs of infection (eg, fever, chills, or sore throat; warm, red, or painful skin); swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet; unexplained weight loss; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual lumps; unusual tiredness or weakness; unusually pale skin; or vison changes.
- AN ALLERGIC REACTION to this medicine is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs.
- Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash; hives; itching;difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest;swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, or unusual hoarseness. This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your healthcare provider.
Deciding to take Humira about a year ago was one of the biggest decisions of my treatment. Humira was not approved by the FDA for Ulcerative Colitis at that time. Things were getting so bad, that I decided to move forward after the advice of my doctor who I trust very much. Also, the options for medical treatments was getting smaller and smaller. I was going off the idea that several doctors had told me that some people respond to Remicade, others to Humira etc… That is where my hope was at.
As you may know from previous posts, I stopped taking Humira in July 2009 because it was not effective in helping my disease. Also, I began developing side effects which far outweighed the potential benefits Humira might have been able to bring me. Here is a link to that post, which goes into some details with pictures from my Humira treatment
So here is the warning that was on one of the papers, as well as what you “the reader/UC patient” should realize:
The information in this monograph is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This information is generalized and is not intended as specific medical advice. If you have any questions about the medicines you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.
I started site and the eNewsletter(you can join that below) shortly after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in October of 2008 with severe pancolitis (when my whole colon was inflamed).
For me, it was a very rough start with severe symptoms. Getting bounced from medication to medication was not easy or too helpful. But, I did meet another UC’er, changes several parts of my diet, and of course the rest is history.
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