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Humira (Adalimumab) - Warnings and Precautions



Tuberculosis (frequently disseminated or extrapulmonary at clinical presentation), invasive fungal infections, and other opportunistic infections, have been observed in patients receiving HUMIRA. Some of these infections have been fatal. Anti-tuberculosis treatment of patients with latent tuberculosis infection reduces the risk of reactivation in patients receiving treatment with HUMIRA. However, active tuberculosis has developed in patients receiving HUMIRA whose screening for latent tuberculosis infection was negative.

Patients should be evaluated for tuberculosis risk factors and be tested for latent tuberculosis infection prior to initiating HUMIRA and during therapy. Treatment of latent tuberculosis infection should be initiated prior to therapy with HUMIRA. Physicians should monitor patients receiving HUMIRA for signs and symptoms of active tuberculosis, including patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infection. [See Warnings and Precautions and Adverse Reactions]



Serious Infections

Serious infections, sepsis, tuberculosis and cases of opportunistic infections, including fatalities, have been reported with the use of TNF blocking agents including HUMIRA. Many of the serious infections have occurred in patients on concomitant immunosuppressive therapy that, in addition to their rheumatoid arthritis could predispose them to infections. In postmarketing experience, infections have been observed with various pathogens including viral, bacterial, fungal and protozoal organisms. Infections have been noted in all organ systems and have been reported in patients receiving HUMIRA alone or in combination with immunosuppressive agents.

Treatment with HUMIRA should not be initiated in patients with active infections including chronic or localized infections. Patients who develop a new infection while undergoing treatment with HUMIRA should be monitored closely. Administration of HUMIRA should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection. Physicians should exercise caution when considering the use of HUMIRA in patients with a history of recurrent infection or underlying conditions which may predispose them to infections, or patients who have resided in regions where tuberculosis and histoplasmosis are endemic. The benefits and risks of HUMIRA treatment should be carefully considered before initiation of HUMIRA therapy.

As observed with other TNF blocking agents, tuberculosis associated with the administration of HUMIRA in clinical trials has been reported. While cases were observed at all doses, the incidence of tuberculosis reactivations was particularly increased at doses of HUMIRA that were higher than the recommended dose.

Before initiation of therapy with HUMIRA, patients should be evaluated for tuberculosis risk factors and should be tested for latent tuberculosis infection. Treatment of latent tuberculosis infections should be initiated prior to therapy with HUMIRA. When tuberculin skin testing is performed for latent tuberculosis infection, an induration size of 5 mm or greater should be considered positive, even if vaccinated previously with Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG). If latent infection is diagnosed, appropriate prophylaxis should be instituted in accordance with the current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The possibility of undetected latent tuberculosis should be considered, especially in patients who have immigrated from or traveled to countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis or had close contact with a person with active tuberculosis. All patients treated with HUMIRA should have a thorough history taken prior to initiating therapy. Some patients who have previously received treatment for latent or active tuberculosis have developed active tuberculosis while being treated with TNF blocking agents. Anti-tuberculosis therapy should be considered prior to initiation of HUMIRA in patients with a past history of latent or active tuberculosis in whom an adequate course of treatment cannot be confirmed. Anti-tuberculosis therapy prior to initiating HUMIRA should also be considered in patients who have several, or highly significant, risk factors for tuberculosis infection and have a negative test for latent tuberculosis, but the decision to initiate anti-tuberculosis therapy in these patients should only be made after taking into account both the risk for latent tuberculosis infection and the risks of anti-tuberculosis therapy. If necessary, consultation should occur with a physician with expertise in the treatment of tuberculosis.

Patients receiving HUMIRA should be monitored for signs and symptoms of active tuberculosis, particularly because tests for latent tuberculosis infection may be falsely negative. Patients should be instructed to seek medical advice if signs or symptoms (e.g., persistent cough, wasting, weight loss, low grade fever) suggestive of a tuberculosis infection occur.


In the controlled portions of clinical trials of some TNF-blocking agents, including HUMIRA, more cases of malignancies have been observed among patients receiving those TNF blockers compared to control patients. During the controlled portions of HUMIRA trials in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Crohn’s disease, malignancies, other than lymphoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, were observed at a rate (95% confidence interval) of 0.6 (0.3, 1.0)/100 patient-years among 2887 HUMIRA-treated patients versus a rate of 0.4 (0.2, 1.1)/100 patient-years among 1570 control patients (median duration of treatment of 5.7 months for HUMIRA-treated patients and 5.5 months for control-treated patients). The size of the control group and limited duration of the controlled portions of studies precludes the ability to draw firm conclusions. In the controlled and uncontrolled open-label portions of the clinical trials of HUMIRA, the more frequently observed malignancies, other than lymphoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, were breast, colon, prostate, lung, and melanoma. These malignancies in HUMIRA-treated and control-treated patients were similar in type and number to what would be expected in the general population.1 During the controlled portions of HUMIRA rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Crohn’s disease trials, the rate (95% confidence interval) of non-melanoma skin cancers was 0.8 (0.47, 1.24)/100 patient-years among HUMIRA-treated patients and 0.2 (0.05, 0.82)/100 patient-years among control patients. The potential role of TNF blocking therapy in the development of malignancies is not known.

In the controlled portions of clinical trials of all the TNF-blocking agents, more cases of lymphoma have been observed among patients receiving TNF blockers compared to control patients. In controlled trials in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Crohn’s disease, 2 lymphomas were observed among 2887 HUMIRA-treated patients versus 1 among 1570 control patients. In combining the controlled and uncontrolled open-label portions of these clinical trials with a median duration of approximately 2 years, including 4843 patients and over 13,000 patient-years of therapy, the observed rate of lymphomas is approximately 0.12/100 patient-years. This is approximately 3.5-fold higher than expected in the general population.1 Rates in clinical trials for HUMIRA cannot be compared to rates of clinical trials of other TNF blockers and may not predict the rates observed in a broader patient population. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, particularly those with highly active disease, are at a higher risk for the development of lymphoma.

Hypersensitivity Reactions

In postmarketing experience, anaphylaxis and angioneurotic edema have been reported rarely following HUMIRA administration. If an anaphylactic or other serious allergic reaction occurs, administration of HUMIRA should be discontinued immediately and appropriate therapy instituted. In clinical trials of HUMIRA, allergic reactions overall (e.g., allergic rash, anaphylactoid reaction, fixed drug reaction, non-specified drug reaction, urticaria) have been observed in approximately 1% of patients.

Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation

Use of TNF blockers, including HUMIRA, may increase the risk of reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in patients who are chronic carriers of this virus. In some instances, HBV reactivation occurring in conjunction with TNF blocker therapy has been fatal. The majority of these reports have occurred in patients concomitantly receiving other medications that suppress the immune system, which may also contribute to HBV reactivation. Patients at risk for HBV infection should be evaluated for prior evidence of HBV infection before initiating TNF blocker therapy. Prescribers should exercise caution in prescribing TNF blockers for patients identified as carriers of HBV. Adequate data are not available on the safety or efficacy of treating patients who are carriers of HBV with anti-viral therapy in conjunction with TNF blocker therapy to prevent HBV reactivation. Patients who are carriers of HBV and require treatment with TNF blockers should be closely monitored for clinical and laboratory signs of active HBV infection throughout therapy and for several months following termination of therapy. In patients who develop HBV reactivation, HUMIRA should be stopped and effective anti-viral therapy with appropriate supportive treatment should be initiated. The safety of resuming TNF blocker therapy after HBV reactivation is controlled is not known. Therefore, prescribers should exercise caution when considering resumption of HUMIRA therapy in this situation and monitor patients closely.

Neurologic Reactions

Use of TNF blocking agents, including HUMIRA, has been associated with rare cases of new onset or exacerbation of clinical symptoms and/or radiographic evidence of demyelinating disease. Prescribers should exercise caution in considering the use of HUMIRA in patients with preexisting or recent-onset central nervous system demyelinating disorders.

Hematological Reactions

Rare reports of pancytopenia including aplastic anemia have been reported with TNF blocking agents. Adverse reactions of the hematologic system, including medically significant cytopenia (e.g., thrombocytopenia, leukopenia) have been infrequently reported with HUMIRA [see Adverse Reactions (6)]. The causal relationship of these reports to HUMIRA remains unclear. All patients should be advised to seek immediate medical attention if they develop signs and symptoms suggestive of blood dyscrasias or infection (e.g., persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, pallor) while on HUMIRA. Discontinuation of HUMIRA therapy should be considered in patients with confirmed significant hematologic abnormalities.

Use with Anakinra

Serious infections were seen in clinical studies with concurrent use of anakinra (an interleukin-1 antagonist) and another TNF-blocking agent, with no added benefit. Because of the nature of the adverse reactions seen with this combination therapy, similar toxicities may also result from combination of anakinra and other TNF blocking agents. Therefore, the combination of HUMIRA and anakinra is not recommended [see Drug Interactions ].

Heart Failure

Cases of worsening congestive heart failure (CHF) and new onset CHF have been reported with TNF blockers. Cases of worsening CHF have also been observed with HUMIRA. HUMIRA has not been formally studied in patients with CHF; however, in clinical trials of another TNF blocker, a higher rate of serious CHF-related adverse reactions was observed. Physicians should exercise caution when using HUMIRA in patients who have heart failure and monitor them carefully.


Treatment with HUMIRA may result in the formation of autoantibodies and, rarely, in the development of a lupus-like syndrome. If a patient develops symptoms suggestive of a lupus-like syndrome following treatment with HUMIRA, treatment should be discontinued [see Adverse Reactions].


In a placebo-controlled clinical trial of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, no difference was detected in anti-pneumococcal antibody response between HUMIRA and placebo treatment groups when the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and influenza vaccine were administered concurrently with HUMIRA. Similar proportions of patients developed protective levels of anti-influenza antibodies between HUMIRA and placebo treatment groups; however, titers in aggregate to influenza antigens were moderately lower in patients receiving HUMIRA. The clinical significance of this is unknown. Patients on HUMIRA may receive concurrent vaccinations, except for live vaccines. No data are available on the secondary transmission of infection by live vaccines in patients receiving HUMIRA.


The possibility exists for TNF blocking agents, including HUMIRA, to affect host defenses against infections and malignancies since TNF mediates inflammation and modulates cellular immune responses. In a study of 64 patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with HUMIRA, there was no evidence of depression of delayed-type hypersensitivity, depression of immunoglobulin levels, or change in enumeration of effector T- and B-cells and NK-cells, monocyte/macrophages, and neutrophils. The impact of treatment with HUMIRA on the development and course of malignancies, as well as active and/or chronic infections, is not fully understood [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1, 5.2) and Adverse Reactions]. The safety and efficacy of HUMIRA in patients with immunosuppression have not been evaluated.



Pregnancy Category B - An embryo-fetal perinatal developmental toxicity study has been performed in cynomolgus monkeys at dosages up to 100 mg/kg (266 times human AUC when given 40 mg subcutaneously with methotrexate every week or 373 times human AUC when given 40 mg subcutaneously without methotrexate) and has revealed no evidence of harm to the fetuses due to adalimumab. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction and developmental studies are not always predictive of human response, HUMIRA should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Pregnancy Registry: To monitor outcomes of pregnant women exposed to HUMIRA, a pregnancy registry has been established. Physicians are encouraged to register patients by calling 1-877-311-8972.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether adalimumab is excreted in human milk or absorbed systemically after ingestion. Because many drugs and immunoglobulins are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from HUMIRA, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of HUMIRA in pediatric patients have not been established.

Geriatric Use

A total of 519 rheumatoid arthritis patients 65 years of age and older, including 107 patients 75 years and older, received HUMIRA in clinical studies RA-I through IV. No overall difference in effectiveness was observed between these subjects and younger subjects. The frequency of serious infection and malignancy among HUMIRA treated subjects over age 65 was higher than for those under age 65. Because there is a higher incidence of infections and malignancies in the elderly population in general, caution should be used when treating the elderly.

Page last updated: 2007-10-01

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