Orencia vs. Humira: What’s the Difference?

Orencia (abatacept) and Humira (adalimumab) are prescription drugs used to treat inflammatory arthritis. They have other uses as well. Both drugs can be given as an injection under the skin.

This article explains the main ways that Orencia and Humira are alike and different. For more information about these drugs, including details about their uses, see the in-depth articles on Orencia and Humira.

You may wonder if Orencia or Humira is available as a biosimilar.

Biosimilars are like generic drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for nonbiologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs.

To find out if Orencia or Humira is available as a biosimilar, see the list below.

  • Orencia:
    • Available as a biosimilar: no
    • Active ingredient*: abatacept
  • Humira:
    • Available as a biosimilar: yes
    • Active ingredient: adalimumab

If you’ve been prescribed Humira and are interested in using the biosimilar version instead, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.

Orencia and Humira are both prescribed to treat certain types of inflammatory arthritis. Orencia and Humira have other uses as well.

See the table below for details on the uses of each drug in adults.

To learn more about using Orencia or Humira to treat your condition, talk with your doctor.

Orencia or Humira and children

Orencia and Humira are used to treat juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children ages 2 years and older.

Both drugs are also used for other conditions in some children. Orencia is approved to help prevent acute graft-versus-host disease in children ages 2 years and older. And Humira is approved to treat these other conditions in children:

  • Crohn’s disease in children ages 6 years and older
  • ulcerative colitis in children ages 5 years and older
  • hidradenitis suppurativa in children ages 12 years and older
  • uveitis in children ages 2 years and older

For more information about the use of either drug in children, talk with your child’s doctor.

Here’s an overview of the dosage and how you’ll use Orencia and Humira for the conditions they both treat.

While Orencia and Humira are approved to treat many other different conditions, these uses are not addressed below.

To learn more about the dosages for all uses of these drugs, see the dosage articles for Orencia and Humira.

Dosage for psoriatic arthritis

Below are the dosages of Orencia and Humira when used for psoriatic arthritis in adults. Strengths of each drug are listed in milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL).

Your doctor will show you or a caregiver how to give injections of Orencia or Humira.

Orencia and Humira can be given as an injection under the skin of your abdomen or upper thigh. Orencia may also be injected under the skin of your upper arm.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe Orencia as an IV infusion (an injection into your vein given over time). In this case, a healthcare professional will give you your infusion in a hospital or clinic.

Dosage for rheumatoid arthritis

Below are the dosages of Orencia and Humira when used for rheumatoid arthritis in adults.

Your doctor will show you or a caregiver how to give injections of Orencia or Humira. Orencia and Humira can be given as an injection under the skin of your abdomen or upper thigh. Orencia may also be injected under the skin of your upper arm.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe Orencia as an IV infusion. In this case, a healthcare professional will give you your infusion in a hospital or clinic.

Dosage for juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Below are the dosages of Orencia and Humira when used for juvenile idiopathic arthritis in some children.

Your child’s doctor will show you how to give your child injections of Orencia or Humira. Orencia and Humira can be given as an injection under the skin of your child’s abdomen or upper thigh. Orencia can also be given under the skin of your child’s upper arm.

In some cases, your child’s doctor may prescribe Orencia as an IV infusion. In this case, a healthcare professional will give your child infusions in a hospital or clinic.

Orencia and Humira may cause side effects ranging from mild to serious. For more information about possible side effects, see the side effect articles on Orencia and Humira.

Mild side effects

Orencia and Humira may cause mild side effects. The table below lists examples of mild side effects that have been reported with these drugs.

This table may not include all mild side effects of these drugs. For more information on mild side effects of the two drugs, see Orencia’s prescribing information and Humira’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects

In addition to the mild side effects described above, serious side effects may occur in people using Orencia or Humira. See the table below for a list of side effects that have been reported with these drugs.

To learn about your specific risk for serious side effects from Orencia or Humira, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* Humira has a boxed warningfor these side effects. A boxed warning is the mostserious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “What are the warnings for Orencia and Humira?” section below.

You may wonder whether Orencia or Humira are effective for your condition.

Orencia and Humira are both used to treat psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Studies of Orencia and Humira have shown that both drugs are effective for these uses.

In addition, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) includes both drugs in its treatment recommendations for these conditions:

It’s important to note that your results from Orencia or Humira may differ from those seen in studies. Talk with your doctor about whether one of these drugs is right for you.

If you’d like to read more about how each drug performed in studies, see the prescribing information for Orencia and Humira.

Whether you have health insurance or not, cost may be a factor when you’re considering these drugs. Visit Optum Perks* to get price estimates for Humira when you use coupons from the site. (Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with any insurance copays or benefits.)

Keep in mind that what you’ll pay for either drug will depend on your treatment plan, health insurance, the pharmacy you use, and possibly where you receive your care.

Orencia and Humira are both brand-name biologic drugs. A biologic is made from parts of living cells.

Orencia does not have biosimilar forms, while Humira does. (Biosimilars are like generic drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for nonbiologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs.)

Humira has several biosimilar versions, including: Abrilada, Amjevita, Cyltezo, Hadlima, Hulio, Hyrimoz, Idacio, Yuflyma, and Yusimry. But not all of these biosimilars are available for use.

You may pay more for brand-name biologics than for biosimilars. If you’re interested in using a biosimilar form of Humira, talk with your doctor.

For other resources that might help you save on the price of these drugs, see the cost articles for Orencia and Humira.

* Optum Perks is a sister site of Healthline.

Orencia and Humira may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. These may be referred to as warnings.

The two drugs share some of the same warnings, but they also have different ones. Some of these warnings are mentioned below. Before you start using Orencia or Humira, be sure to talk with your doctor to see if these warnings apply to you.

Boxed warnings

Humira has boxed warnings. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Risk of serious infections. Using Humira may increase the risk of serious infections. These may require hospital treatment and, in rare cases, may be fatal. Examples of serious infections include active tuberculosis (TB) and cellulitis. Sepsis, which is a life threatening response to serious infection, may also occur.

Before you start Humira treatment, your doctor will test you for TB. (Latent TB doesn’t cause symptoms.) If you have TB, they’ll likely treat it before you start treatment with Humira.

During Humira treatment, tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of a serious infection. Examples include cough, body aches, chills, or fever.

If you’re found to have an infection, your doctor can give you treatment for it. They may also have you stop Humira and give you a different treatment option.

Risk of cancer. Using Humira may raise the risk of cancer, including lymphoma. These cancers may be fatal in some cases.

Your doctor will watch for symptoms of cancer during your Humira treatment. Examples include weight loss, fatigue (low energy), and swollen lymph nodes.

If you’re found to have cancer, your doctor can recommend treatments. They’ll likely have you stop using Humira and give you a different treatment option.

Other warnings

In addition to boxed warnings, Orencia and Humira have other warnings.

Before using Orencia or Humira, talk with your doctor if any of the following conditions or health factors apply to you.

  • Warnings for Orencia:
  • Warnings for Humira:
    • if you have a neurological disorder, such as multiple sclerosis
    • if you have heart failure
    • if you have an allergy to rubber or latex
  • Warnings for both Orencia and Humira:
    • if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant
    • if you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed

To learn more about these drugs, see the in-depth articles on Orencia and Humira.

The short answer: Yes, it’s possible.

Details: Both Orencia and Humira can be used to treat psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. If your doctor recommends doing so, it may be possible to switch from Orencia to Humira or vice versa.

Keep in mind that Humira is also approved to treat certain autoimmune conditions that Orencia isn’t approved to treat. Your doctor isn’t likely to recommend switching from one drug to the other for these conditions.

Reminder: You shouldn’t switch drugs or stop your current treatment unless your doctor recommends it. They’ll tell you whether it’s possible to switch between Orencia and Humira in your specific situation.

 

Orencia and Humira are both used to treat certain types of inflammatory arthritis. Humira has other approved uses use as well.

To learn more about Orencia or Humira, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Here are a few example questions to get you started:

  • If Orencia or Humira doesn’t work to treat my condition, is there another drug I could try instead?
  • Will Orencia or Humira cure my condition?
  • Does Orencia or Humira have a higher risk of side effects?

To learn more about Orencia, see these articles:

To learn more about Humira, see these articles:

To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.

Disclaimer: This article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Article source and credits to https://www.healthline.com/health/drugs/orencia-vs-humira

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