Adalimumab HUMIRA®


Adalimumab is given as a subcutaneous injection (injection under the skin). It cannot be taken orally (in tablet form), because your digestive system would destroy it.

Your adalimumab treatment will be supervised by a specialist doctor experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of IBD. To begin with, a doctor or nurse will give you the injections. Once you are used to having the treatment, you may be able to self-inject, if you and your doctor feel this is appropriate, and after you have had the proper training in injection techniques. If you prefer, it may be possible for someone else, such as a family member or a friend, to be trained to give the injections, although self injecting may give you more independence.

Adalimumab for adult use comes ready to use in either a pre-filled syringe or a pre-filled injection ‘pen’. The syringes or pens come in a pack, which also contains an alcohol pad for cleaning the skin before injecting. The injection is usually given under the skin of your thigh or stomach, but not in the area around your stomach button (navel). It should not be given in any area where the skin is reddened, bruised or hard, and a new injection site should be at least 3 cm away from any previous injection sites. If you use a syringe the injection will take about 2-5 seconds. If you use a pen it will take about 10 seconds.

Adalimumab for children may come in a vial (small bottle) designed to fit onto a syringe using an adapter. Normally, the adalimumab will be delivered directly to your home by a special delivery company. Adalimumab has to be kept in the fridge at all times, or it will not work. However, when needed, for example if you are travelling, adalimumab can be stored at room temperature out of sunlight for a maximum of 14 days – if it is kept out for longer than this it should be thrown away. Even if you return it to the fridge within 14 days of it being taken out, it still must be used within 14 days of the initial removal from the fridge.


The dose you are prescribed and how often you need to take it will vary according to your condition. Children will be given smaller doses than adults. The usual adult induction (starting) dose is 160 mg followed by an 80 mg dose two weeks later, although some people may start with a dose of 80 mg followed by a 40 mg dose after two weeks. For ongoing treatment, the usual dose is then 40 mg every other week.

Depending on your response, your doctor may increase the frequency of your dose to 40 mg every week. Each adalimumab pre-filled pen or syringe contains 40mg of the drug, which means you will need more than one injection when you have the initial induction doses.