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Can you take Humira with antibiotics?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD Last updated on Apr 26, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

You can take Humira (adalimumab) with an antibiotic if your doctor has prescribed both of these medications for you. There may be some antibiotics that are not safe to take with Humira, so do not start taking any antibiotic without prior approval from your doctor. 

Some infections may need to be treated with a different medication than an antibiotic, for example, an antifungal or antiviral medication. Your doctor can determine if you need treatment for an infection while receiving Humira.

If you currently have an infection or are being treated for an infection, you should tell your doctor before starting treatment with Humira.

  • You should not start taking Humira if you have any kind of infection unless your doctor says it is okay.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor about all of your health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have an infection or you keep getting infections.
  • Your doctor may decide to stop your treatment with Humira if you are being treated for an infection. Do not stop using Humira unless your doctor tells you to.

Does Humira increase my risk of infection?

Humira can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections or make an infection worse. Humira can cause serious side effects, which may include infections, tuberculosis (a bacterial infection that mainly affects the lungs) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or other types of bacteria. Some infections have been deadly.

Tell your doctor if you think you have an infection before or after starting Humira.  Symptoms of an infection may include:

  • fever, sweats or chills
  • muscle aches
  • coughing
  • warm, painful or red skin or sores on your body
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • shortness of breath
  • blood in phlegm
  • burning when you urinate
  • urinating more often than normal
  • feeling very tired
  • weight loss

When Humira is used in combination with certain medications it can increase your risk of serious infections or the development of a rare type of cancer. Be sure to tell your doctor about all of the medication you use, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Your doctor or pharmacist will review for drug interactions while you are using Humira.

Humira is a medication injected under your skin to treat many different types of diseases where symptoms include pain and inflammation, such as: rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, plaque psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, hidradenitis suppurativa and uveitis. Humira will not cure these diseases but can help to relieve your symptoms and control your disease worsening. 

Tuberculosis

Before starting treatment with Humira, tell your doctor if you have tuberculosis (TB), or have been in close contact with someone with TB (for example, someone in your household). Tell your doctor if you were born in, lived in, or traveled to countries where there is more risk for getting TB. Ask your doctor if you are not sure.

Your doctor will test you for tuberculosis (TB) before starting treatment with Humira. Your doctor will also check you closely for TB during your ongoing treatment with Humira. Symptoms of TB may include a cough, low-grade fever, weight loss, or loss of body fat and muscle.

Fungal infections

Fungal infections are not treated with antibiotics, they are treated with antifungal medications.

Before you start treatment with Humira, tell your doctor if you live, or have lived in certain parts of the country (such as the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys). Ask your doctor if you are not sure. These parts of the country may be associated with an increased risk for getting certain kinds of fungal infections (histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, or blastomycosis). Humira may lead to or worsen these infections.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection and can be long-lasting, which may increase your risk for liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis. 

Humira may lead to reactivation of hepatitis B virus infections if you are a carrier of this virus. In some circumstances, this can be serious or deadly.

  • Your doctor will evaluate you to determine if you are at risk for hepatitis B infection, or if you need an antiviral medication to treat hepatitis B infection.
  • Your doctor may decide to stop your Humira treatment. Do not stop using Humira unless your doctor tells you to.

Can I get a vaccine with Humira?

Except for live vaccines, you may receive vaccines if your doctor has prescribed Humira for you. Live vaccines contain a weakened live virus. Because Humira can suppress your immune system, it may increase your risk of infection with live vaccines or the vaccine may not be as effective. Always get approval from the doctor who prescribed your Humira before getting any vaccination.

Tell your doctor if you have recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine. If you need a live vaccine, your doctor may decide to delay the vaccine, delay the initial start of Humira, or stop your immunosuppressant therapy for a period of time.

Some examples of live vaccines include:

  • nasal flu vaccine (FluMist)
  • measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • chickenpox
  • yellow fever

If possible, children should be brought up to date with all vaccines in current immunization guidelines prior to starting Humira.

The flu-shot is not a live virus and you should consider having this vaccination yearly; talk to your doctor about getting this vaccine each fall.

Bottom Line

  • You can take an antibiotic with Humira if your doctor decides they should be used together. In some cases, your doctor may decide to stop your Humira, either temporarily or for a longer period, while you are being treated for an infection.
  • Humira is an immunosuppressant and is known to increase the risk for infections, including bacterial, fungal or viral infections.
  • To help protect you from certain infections, for example, the influenza virus, you should receive certain vaccines. You should avoid live vaccines. Speak with your doctor about which vaccines you should use.
References
  • Humira Injection [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: AbbVie Inc. Accessed April 17, 2020 https://www.rxabbvie.com/pdf/humira.pdf
  • Vaccines.gov. Accessed April 26, 2020 at https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/types

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