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Enbrel vs Humira: Main Differences and Similarities

Enbrel (etanercept) and Humira (adalimumab) are medications indicated to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both medications are categorized as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers. They work by blocking TNF, a natural substance that is involved in inflammatory processes in the body. By blocking this substance, Enbrel and Humira work to decrease inflammation and immune responses that are responsible for RA symptoms.

Enbrel

Enbrel is the brand name for etanercept. It is used to treat rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. It can also treat other inflammatory conditions such as polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and ankylosing spondylitis.

Enbrel is available as an injection that can be administered under the skin once or twice weekly. Depending on the ailment being treated, Enbrel can be given as a 25 mg/0.5 mL or 50 mg/mL prefilled syringe. It can also be administered as a SureClick® Autoinjector which may be more convenient and easier to use for some people.

Humira

Humira is known by its chemical name, adalimumab. Humira can treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Unlike Enbrel, Humira can also be used for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, among other inflammatory conditions.

Humira comes as a 40 mg/0.4 mL, 40 mg/0.8 mL, and 80 mg/0.8 mL single-use prefilled pen. Prefilled syringes in varying strengths are also available to use. Humira dosing depends on the treated condition although it is usually given every week for arthritis.

Enbrel vs Humira Side by Side Comparison

Enbrel and Humira share several features that make them potential treatment options. Even though they have many similarities, there are some differences between the two. Both drugs can be further compared below.

Enbrel Humira
Prescribed For
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Plaque psoriasis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Plaque psoriasis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa
Drug Classification
  • Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker
  • Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker
Manufacturer
Common Side Effects
  • Infections
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Injection site reactions
  • Infections
  • Injection site reactions
  • Headache
  • Rash
Is there a generic?
  • No generic currently available for purchase
  • No generic currently available for purchase
Is it covered by insurance?
  • Varies according to your provider
  • Varies according to your provider
Dosage Forms
  • Subcutaneous injection
  • Subcutaneous injection
Average Cash Price
  • $6,100 per 4, 50 mg/ml injectable solution
  • $5,773 per 2 subcutaneous kits
SingleCare Discount Price
Drug Interactions
  • Live vaccines
  • Anakinra
  • Abatacept
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Live vaccines
  • Anakinra
  • Abatacept
Can I use while planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding?
  • Enbrel is in Pregnancy Category B. No fetal harm has been established in animal studies. However, fetal harm cannot be ruled out. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take if planning pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Humira is in Pregnancy Category B. No fetal harm has been established in animal studies. However, fetal harm cannot be ruled out. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take if planning pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Summary

Enbrel (etanercept) and Humira (adalimumab) are similar prescription injections that treat rheumatoid arthritis. While they work in similar ways as TNF blockers, they differ in how they are formulated and used. Although both drugs treat arthritis, Humira can also treat other inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

It is important to note that TNF blockers are not considered first-line therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Instead, they are considered when other treatment options have not been effective.

Both drugs are administered on a weekly basis with similar effectiveness. Enbrel can be given as a pre-filled syringe or a SureClick® Autoinjector while Humira is available as a pre-filled syringe or pen.

Both drugs should not be given alongside live vaccines. This is due to the increased risk of infections when using Enbrel or Humira. Black box warnings for an increased risk of tuberculosis also exist for Enbrel and Humira. Otherwise, common side effects are usually limited to injection site reactions such as mild redness and irritation.

Because of their similarities in use and effectiveness, either Enbrel or Humira may be preferred depending on your overall condition. It is important to discuss medication treatment with a doctor to determine the best possible option. If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, other treatments are also available.