Remicade vs. Humira ? Which is best for less side effects....

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to many questions
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 11/22/2008 1:50 PM (GMT -7)   
I am now at a point where my doc's have ordered Remicade/Humira.  I have been doing lots of reading about both and I am having just a bit of problems with the side effects for Humira.  Can anyone assist me with what I should know or ask my doc before I make my choice for either of them.  I am having a problem wrapping my mind around either one of them.  There is so much to take in. 
Thanks so very much
Terri, 49 year old female
Diagnoised Uclerative Colitis, Dec, 2006 and Pan-Colitis June, 2008
Allergic to 5-ASA's, Prednisone for the time but, tapering off
no other med regimen yet.........
Still new to this condition with a positive outlook........

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7118
   Posted 11/22/2008 4:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been on both Remicade and Humira. Both are anti-tumor necrosing factor medications so the potential side effects for both are very similar. Humira is delivered by injection into the abdomen and/or thigh. Some people have injection site reactions that they find uncomfortable. Others have problems with a burning sensation at the time of the injection. I never had problems with either of those. Also, some people have problems injecting themselves.

Remicade is given by IV. Therefore, the patient has to have an IV inserted each time to receive the medication. If a person has a dislike or fear of needles then this might be a problem for them. Remicade infusions are sometimes preceded by premedication with Tylenol and Benadryl to reduce the likelihood of infusion reactions. If Benadryl konks a person out, then it might interrupt their schedule further. Remicade infusions last about 3 hours but some places take much longer to prepare the medication. Depending on the facility, it is possible the patient might need the entire day to get an infusion. My infusion center had me in and out in 3 hours.

Another consideration is insurance coverage. Remicade is usually considered a treatment so some policies provide more generous coverage for Remicade. What would your co-pay be if you get Humira? You might find that one medication might cost you lots more than the other.

In regards as to what to ask your doctor, I would start by asking which med is likely to produce the best results for someone with pan-colitis. I would ask where one would get Remicade infusions if you go that route and how long is one typically there for an infusion. I would ask if a person has better success at weaning off prednisone on Remicade or Humira or is it the same. This should get you started. Make a list and add to it as you think of things you want to know.
Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, and a host of other medical problems.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3200
   Posted 11/22/2008 5:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Just to add what Ides has told you, make sure you do ask questions. There's no such thing as too many....

Good luck.

Too many years with CD
Two bowel resections, several obstructions.
Fibromyalgia and recently diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis
B12 Shots bi-weekl

Positivity, while not a cure, is positively far better than negativity.
"Mental attitude can move mountains" A message from my son.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3042
   Posted 11/23/2008 8:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I have been on Remicade for 5 years it has been a wonderful drug. has giving my life back.
Hi, I am teddybearweiser, I am a male.
I was diagnosed with crohns disease when i was admitted to the hospital

in 1992, in Jan of 1993 I was back in the hospital for surgery for my crohns. I had part of my right colon resectioned with ilecolonstomy.

My GI doctor has me on Asacol, Dicyclomine,Imuran,Celebrex and Remicade. B-12 injection once a month.
Also diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 884
   Posted 11/24/2008 12:11 PM (GMT -7)   
From my experience, docs usually like to try Remicade first and then move on to Humira or Cimzia if you have problems with Remicade.  I started out on Remicade and got treatments at home with a nurse, so I didn't have to miss much work.  After a year, I started having allergic reactions that premedicating didn't help.  Doing the infusion over a longer period of time (3 hours) didn't help either.  We got to where I had to be admitted to the hospital and let the infusion run over 19 hours, during which I still started to have a reaction (but it stopped before getting too bad).  So, it ended up being very inconvenient for me to get Remicade.  Plus, I built up antibodies so it stopped working anyway. 
Remicade was billed through my insurance, so I had to pay 15% until I hit my $1000 out of pocket max (which I would hit on the second infusion) and then everything was covered 100% the rest of the year.  They won't bill the Cimzia or Humira like that.  I would normally have a $200 copay for 3 months of Humira, but am currently getting it free through the co-pay plus program.  It's not financially based, so I believe that anyone can qualify for it.  They will cover my Humira for 6 months and then will cover most of it for another 6 months.  Cimzia is doing something similar - 6 months free and then you can apply for another 6 months free. 
I personally like Humira and Cimzia much better (have done them both - Cimzia on a clinical trial and now Humira) because it is much more convenient than the infusions and I only get a small injection site reaction - much less scary than the Remicade reactions.  But, just talk to your doctor to see what he/she recommends you start with.  Good luck! 
Crohn's Disease, Acid Reflux/Gastritis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Endometriosis, Arthritis, Depression/Anxiety.  Too many meds to list them all.  =) 

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