Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Humira/Adalimumab » Potential Humira Side Effect

03-12-2011, 09:15 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Massachusetts
Potential Humira Side Effect

I've been on Humira since last April. It seemed to be controlling my Crohn's pretty well, but it turns out I ended up developing Psoriatic Arthritis while I was on it - while my Crohn's was still under control!

In case you start seeing these symptoms, I would alert your GI. Mine referred me to a Rheumatologist who made the diagnosis...

1) Swelling fingers and toes (giving a "sausage-like" appearance)
2) Swelling arch and heel of the foot
3) Any new or worsening patches of psoriasis

I'm not trying to scare people or anything like that. But after a lot of searching on these forums and via Google, I haven't found much mentioned about this being a side effect. Based on that, I'm guessing it's rather rare, but I figured I would pass it along.

And it's too bad, because Humira was working so well!

So now I'm moving to methotrexate to control the psoriatic arthritis (which can also help with Crohn's) ...and I'm making a pretty drastic change to my diet JUST to be sure things go well!

Safe travels, fellow Crohnies!
Dx'd in 2000/Crohn's
Meds: Methotrexate
Supps: Folic Acid, L-Glutamine, D3, B12, Iron, Veggie Juicing
03-12-2011, 11:54 PM   #2
David in Seattle
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It's so interesting that you would develop this while on Humira, since it (and the other anti TNF agents) are actually used to TREAT severe cases of several types of arthritis, including the psoriatic variety, as well as plaque psoriasis. Did you have psoriasis prior to developing PA? Any family history of the condition? Did your rheumatologist say he thought the condition was related to the Humira?

I hope you start feeling better soon & welcome to the forum!
03-13-2011, 12:46 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Massachusetts
It is certainly weird. But at the same time, right on the Humira web site, one of the side effects listed are psoriasis. And that is how it started for me: psoriasis on my elbow about 4 months ago, and then the arthritis about a month and a half ago. After talking to my GI, the Rheumo attributed it to the Humira as I haven't had any signs of it in the past, and so I was told to stop immediately.

I was due for my Humira shot yesterday ..and I haven't taken my first dose of MTX yet, so right now I feel like I'm in no-mans-land, between medications haha!
01-26-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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Location: greenwood, Nova Scotia
I've been on Humira for a little over a year now and last October developed a rash.. It was mis-diagnosed at first and now I've come to realize/find out I have developed plaque psoriasis from being on Humira. No previous skin problems, no family history, nothing.. otherwise the Humira has done wonders for my Crohn's and fistulae..
01-26-2012, 09:19 PM   #5
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Diagnosis has not been clearly made on my side. I had all sort of side effects from Humira most likely. Rheumy sees me every 2-3 months to make sure things are "ok". It was something like a induced-lupus or something like psoriasis arthritis, they are unsure as symptoms were cyclic and temporary but kinda not the same from time to time. I had plaque psoriasis and migratory arthritis with swollen toes and finger. It would swell one day and be fine when I would wake up in the morning, then it would be the knee, the next day the elbow. It was worsen a lot by the sun, I went on a vacation and at night, I could barely walk cause my feet and ankle were so swollen, or I could not open a bottle cause my hand were so painful. They have not discontinued the humira as it stopped with fall... (hence why I suspect the sun to be triggering the side effects from the humira). I still have extremely dry skin in the face from time to time, kinda butterfly rash like... Seeing the rheumy in two weeks again... gonna discuss that once more...
No one in my family has skin issues of that kind and no one has arthritis at the exception of my grand-mother...
Diagnosed UC 1999 then refractory CD.
Past Meds: Prednisone, asacol, cyclosporine, cyclophosphamide, mp6, Humira

Currently taking: Omega-3, D-3, med-free for the time being.
~~Oh! n sorry if what I write seems strange at times, English is not my main language!~~

You'd like to chat and feel facebook would ease this point,
send me a private message and i'll do so =)
01-27-2012, 12:56 AM   #6
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Wow! Your symptoms caught my eye! Those have been my symptoms for about 6 months. It's to the point where I can only wear tennis shoes or really big flats. My fingers are sausages and the top of my feet are incredibly swollen and painful at times. I just emailed my GI doctor to see what she says about this potential diagnosis. This would explain alot as I am on Humira. I am baffled a bit by the responding posts though since it's used for arthritis. Thank you for your post. I hope this can help me.
01-27-2012, 05:07 PM   #7
Miss Underestimated
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Location: Norfolk, Virginia
I noticed the strange discrepancy when I was reading about the Humira side effects, since I was aware that Humira is used to treat the same psoriasis and arthritis that are considered side effects. Strange stuff.
*Sick since 1987; managed on my own;
*diagnosed 2008 when I underwent emergency surgery;
*various meds and tests 2008-2012,
*Jan 2012-present, Humira. No symptoms, but scopes indicated disease.
*6MP for all of 2013.
*2014 &2015 complete mucosal healing.

**Staying on Humira for maintenance**

The statistics I see so far for my situation seem pretty good. There ARE long term statistics for the Anti-TNF drug treatments now. I'm here to make them longER.
01-27-2012, 08:41 PM   #8
Miss Gypsy
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Washington, DC
I still have extremely dry skin in the face from time to time, kinda butterfly rash like...
Hey, PsychoJane I've read that a butterfly rash on the face can be a sign of lupus. Not trying to scare you or anything, but I thought I'd let you know in case some of your other symptoms indicate it as well. Best of luck no matter what!
Diagnosed April 2010, age 22
Previous Meds: Pentasa, Entocort, Remicade
Current Meds: Cipro and Flagyl

After 2 years, Humira has failed me - 2 abscesses in 2 months! Surgery sometime in November.
01-28-2012, 10:12 PM   #9
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Location: Bernardsville, New Jersey
I, too, have had very bad arthritic symptoms since being on Humira. However, I can't find a pattern to it in terms of injection times. I have been using a cane to ambulate for months, but now the pain has gotten so bad that I can't engage in simple daily activities. My theory has always been that the Humira is causing the joint pain, but my docs look at me like I am insane (not the first time) because it is used to treat RA. I am going to see a Specialist at Mt. Sinai in Feb., so I hope he has some data or info that might confirm my suspicions. I am symptom free with Crohn's. As much as it sucks for us, it's kind of nice to hear others are having the same issues. Thanks for being here...
01-28-2012, 10:54 PM   #10
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Oh wow...
My theory has always been that the Humira is causing the joint pain, but my docs look at me like I am insane (not the first time) because it is used to treat RA.
Are your docs specialists or GP? I know GP are not familiar with these meds but coming from specialists, that would be pretty sad. These side effects are well known from specialist normally... Many patients have them in mild form when they start the treatment and then it fades with time, others have them turn more serious over time, and well some lucky only have the expected benefits. Thankfully my docs don't question what I tell them... they just seem to wonder what they should do as the effects are sporadic and relatively mild...

@Miss Gipsy: it is indeed a symptoms of lupus, or drug induced lupus. I showed up to the ER this fall cause I could barely use my hand or walk properly cause my joints were all swollen. That's when they refer me to a rheumy to study the induced-lupus possibility... As of yet, the case is not solve... Some blood test shows it could be, some other sign are not there... It seems to be hard to really classified... I am under the impression that they are kinda stuck there with my case as I am running short of option of treatment. It would not be so wise to switch for Remicade as it is known to be worse for the induced lupus... and well, AZA and 6MP don't suit me... I wish I could just discontinue it...
Life will tell, anyway, with surgery, maybe ill be fine for a few years without trouble again, thankfully!
10-07-2014, 04:45 AM   #11
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: london, United Kingdom

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Hello everyone, is there any further news about the connection between Humira and the side-effects of causing psoriatic arthritis? I am convinced it has done this to me, and determined to get off Humira, but does anyone know if there is an alternative biologic for Crohns and does anyone know if psoriatic arthritis is reversible once Humira is ceased? I am desperate for information, it is a juggling act, as you all know unfortunately.
Many thanks and all the best.

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