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How long does it take for Humira to work?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on April 20, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Most patients using the biologic agent Humira (adalimumab) will start to feel relief from their symptoms within 2 to 12 weeks. Your results will vary based on your condition being treated and other factors, such as tolerability to treatment and other medications you may be using.

Humira (adalimumab) is an injectable biologic drug used to treat many different diseases where inflammation can lead to pain and swelling. Conditions commonly treated by Humira include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, plaque psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, and psoriatic arthritis. Humira will not cure these diseases but may help to relieve your symptoms and control your disease worsening.

Rheumatoid arthritis

  • For patients with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, symptoms of pain, swelling and joint stiffness can begin to subside within 2 weeks, but it may take 12 weeks or longer in some patients.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term, autoimmune disease that leads to joint swelling (inflammation), pain, redness, warmth, and stiffness. Areas that are most commonly involved include the wrists, fingers, feet and ankles, and knees.

Plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis

  • In clinical trials for plaque psoriasis, adult patients using Humira saw up to 90% clearer skin in as little as 4 months. For patients with psoriatic arthritis, symptoms of pain, swelling and joint stiffness can begin to subside within 2 weeks, but it can take up to 12 weeks or longer in some patients.
  • Plaque psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) skin condition that results in areas of thickened, red, swollen skin that may be covered with silvery-looking scales. Psoriasis is not contagious.
  • Psoriatic arthritis can develop later in people who have the skin condition psoriasis. With psoriatic arthritis, joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the main symptoms and affect any part of your body.
  • With both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, symptoms may flare up but alternate with periods of disease remission.

Ankylosing spondylitis

  • In a clinical study of patients using Humira for ankylosing spondylitis (AS), some people had an improvement in AS symptoms as soon as 2 weeks. However, it may take up to 12 weeks or longer for a noticeable improvement.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory joint disease primarily of the lower back that causes small bones in your spine (vertebrae) to fuse.
  • Flexibility of your neck and back can decline leading to morning stiffness, difficulty sleeping and inability to do normal activities of daily living, such as getting dressed or bathing.

Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis

  • In Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, some people start to see results within 4 weeks after starting Humira treatment, but most people see an improvement by 8 weeks.
  • Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which leads to long-term inflammation (pain and swelling) of the gastrointestinal tract, usually affecting the intestines, but other areas may be involved as well. Typical symptoms of Crohn’s disease include stomach pain, an urgency to have a bowel movement, weight loss, diarrhea and tiredness.
  • Ulcerative colitis inflammation affects only the large intestine and ulcers develop along the lining of your colon and rectum. Symptoms may include diarrhea, often with blood or pus, stomach cramping, rectal pain, weight loss, tiredness, or fever.

Hidradenitis suppurativa

  • A large clinical trial of 600 adult patients with moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa was conducted with Humira. Results demonstrated that Humira reduced the total number of inflammatory nodules and abscesses by at least 50% in 12 weeks.
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a long-lasting condition that leads to skin inflammation (swelling), bumps and abscesses in certain areas of the body such as the groin, under the arms, under the breasts, buttocks and inner thighs.

Uveitis

  • In a clinical study of adult patients with uveitis using Humira, patients saw a difference in their disease symptoms as quickly as 6 weeks.
  • Uveitis is an inflammatory eye disease that leads to swelling in the uvea, the middle layer of the eye that is below the white of the eye.
  • The uvea includes the iris, choroid, and the ciliary body. Uveitis can lead to permanent vision loss.

Bottom Line

Your results with Humira are variable based on your medical condition, but most patients start to feel relief from Humira within 2 to 12 weeks.

For rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, swelling and joint stiffness can begin to subside within 2 weeks. The full effect may take up to 3 months.

For intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, results may start within 4 weeks after starting Humira treatment, and most people see an improvement by 8 weeks.

See also: Humira: One Drug, Nine Uses, Billions of Dollars

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