Humira vs Enbrel – Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Differences


It is a trade name of a drug called adalimumab that works by blocking the production of TNF-alpha to reduce the inflammation of the skin and in the joints.

The Food and Drug Administration originally approved this medication in 2002. It is produced by Abbott Laboratories, a global healthcare company with headquarters in Lake Bluff, Illinois, US.


It is typically prescribed for:

  • juvenile idiopathic arthritis;
  • ankylosing spondylitis (a type of arthritis that affects the spine);
  • psoriatic arthritis;
  • rheumatoid arthritis.

Moreover, it is used to treat the symptoms of active Crohn’s disease in sufferers who have not been helped by other drugs, like – infliximab. Crohn’s disease is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease that belongs to a larger group of illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease.


The dose schedule for this medication is highly variable and depends on the condition the patient has. For instance, he may need an injection every seven days or he may need an injection every second day.

Note – depending on the condition being treated, it can take from 1 to 3 months for the patients to observe some improvements.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Adalimumab

Common side effects may include:

  • rash;
  • headaches;
  • bruising, redness, swelling, or itching, where the injection was given;
  • a sore throat;
  • sinus pain;
  • a stuffy nose.

Rare side effects may include:

  • feeling full after eating only a small amount of food;
  • tiredness;
  • rapid heart rate;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • upper stomach pain;
  • night sweats;
  • dark urine;
  • fever;
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes;
  • pain in the upper stomach which may spread to the shoulder;
  • burning when you urinate;
  • clay-colored stools;
  • diarrhea;
  • vomiting;
  • light-headed;
  • easy bruising;
  • loss of appetite;
  • vision problems;
  • pale skin;
  • a tingly feeling;
  • worsening psoriasis;
  • shortness of breath.

To be sure that this medicine is safe for you, tell your healthcare professional about all of your health conditions, including if you:

  • have or have had hepatitis B;
  • are being treated for an infection;
  • have symptoms of an infection;
  • have an infection;
  • have or have had any type of cancer;
  • have infections which keep coming back;
  • get a lot of infections;
  • have or had heart failure;
  • have type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • are allergic to latex, rubber, or any ingredients found in this medication;
  • have a baby and you were using this medication during your pregnancy;
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant;
  • have recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine;
  • have a nervous system disease, like –  Guillain-Barré syndrome or multiple sclerosis
  • are scheduled for major surgery;
  • live or have lived in a zone where there is an increased risk of getting certain types of fungal infections, like – coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis (this disease affects mainly the lungs), or blastomycosis;
  • have tuberculosis or have been in close contact with someone with tuberculosis.


Avoid alcohol while taking adalimumab.


It is the brand name of an injectable drug called etanercept that works by blocking tumor necrosis factor-alpha, a substance in the human body that causes inflammation, among other functions.

The medication is produced by Amgen, Inc, an American biopharmaceutical company with headquarters in Thousand Oaks, California, US. It was originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998.

Important note – individuals who use this type of medication are at high risk of a reactivation of latent TB infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


It is typically used to treat the following conditions:

  • chronic severe psoriatic arthritis in children ages 4 to 17;
  • psoriatic arthritis in adults;
  • active ankylosing spondylitis;
  • moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults;
  • moderate-to-severe juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children;
  • chronic moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in adults.


The usual recommended dose is 50 mg injected two times per week in adults.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Etanercept

Common side effects may include:

  • headaches;
  • mild nausea;
  • weakness;
  • vomiting;
  • a runny nose;
  • diarrhea;
  • a cough;
  • stomach pain;
  • weight changes;
  • heartburn;
  • discomfort at the injection site.

Rare side effects may include:

  • bleeding;
  • seizures;
  • dizziness;
  • bruising;
  • vision changes;
  • a butterfly-shaped rash over nose and cheeks;
  • chest pain;
  • patchy skin color;
  • swelling;
  • an ongoing cough;
  • unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • problems swallowing;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • tarry stools;
  • body aches;
  • coughing up blood or mucus;
  • swollen glands;
  • confusion;
  • rapid weight gain;
  • neck stiffness;
  • a sore throat;
  • mood changes.

Note – because this medication negatively affects your immune system, serious infections can occur in people who use it.

To be sure that this drug is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have or have ever had the following:

  • type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • seizures;
  • any type of recurring infection;
  • tuberculosis;
  • HIV or AIDS;
  • any cuts or open sores;
  • painful urination;
  • any disease which affects the nervous system, like – multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barre syndrome;
  • diarrhea;
  • congestive heart failure;
  • asthma or other breathing disorder;
  • heart failure;
  • hepatitis B;
  • liver disease;
  • inflammation of the nerve which sends messages from the eye to the brain (optic neuritis);
  • inflammation of the spinal cord which can cause unusual sensations (transverse myelitis);
  • if you have recently been vaccinated with Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG);
  • if you are scheduled to receive any vaccines;
  • if you are allergic to latex rubber.

Other drugs which block TNF alpha include:

  • infliximab (Remicade);
  • golimumab (Simponi);
  • certolizumab (Cimzia).

Humira vs Enbrel – Differences

It is the brand name of a medication called adalimumab, a tumor necrosis factor blocker that reduces the effects of a substance in the human body that can cause inflammation.

This injectable drug is typically used to treat adults with inflammatory conditions, like – Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, hidradenitis suppurativa, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis, and ulcerative colitis.

Enbrel (active ingredient – etanercept) is a medication that belongs to the class of medications called tumor necrosis factor inhibitors or biological response modifiers.

This prescription drug is typically used to treat inflammatory conditions, like – psoriatic arthritis, severe rheumatoid arthritis, idiopathic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Image source – @Getty & Shutterstock

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