Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Jim Shinn, Community Member, asks

Q: Enbrel or Humira which is better?

My doctor is recommending me going to either Enbrel or Humira.  Are they about the same?  Is one stronger than the other? 


I'm reading that you have less problems when injecting in the stomach area over your thighs. 


Right now I'm on plaquenil and diclofenac to treat R.A.  My flare ups are becoming a little more often and he's suggestion going to a stronger medicine. 


I'm a bass fisherman and it's pushing me to the edge of enjoying the sport I like to spend my free time doing and I want to feel better.  Thanks for any input you can give me.

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Answers (3)
Hope, Community Member
7/28/10 6:18pm

I took humira for a year with little results and have been on enbrel for two years with good results.  I have a friend who took enbrel with no results and humira works great for her. They are about the same, they just work differently for different people.  And yes injecting into the stomach is much less painful than the thighs.  Less reactions problems too.

Jim Shinn, Community Member
7/29/10 1:49pm



Thanks.  I guess I'll be in the trial and error period and will post results as soon as I start it. 



Joyfulprayz, Community Member
7/29/10 4:26pm

I have only injected Enbrel into the thighs and it is painful. I will definitely try the stomach area this week.

andrew, Community Member
7/29/10 8:36pm



My rheumy gave me the same choice when I started biological medicines. He didn't give much reason for choosing either one so I read as much as I could. I started with Enbrel but have switched to Cimzia and now Humira after about 15 months since starting the process. After being on three biologicals, and reading alot about them and other people's experiences, I believe the answer all depends on the individual. Some respond better to certain meds and it's an experiment until you find the one that works best for you.


In terms of injecting...I've found Enbrel and Humira to be about the same. It's once a week w/Enbrel and every other week with Humira. Injecting into fatty tissue versus muscle is best. With men, that's certainly the belly. Let the med warm to room temperature about 15-30 minutes before injecting. That helps the sting (which only last a few minutes). The autoinjector pens are really handy if you've never injected yourself. It may take upwards of three months before the full effect kicks in.


I hope you find relief!


Lene Andersen, Health Guide
7/30/10 12:22pm

I completely agree - how well they work depends on the individual. I was on and off for about two years, but had to switch to Humira a little over three years ago due to some side effects that I couldn't tolerate. Usually, the primary side effects are sinus issues 10 check out my post on managing side effects for more information on how to stay ahead of that.


one caution, though. Don't let the medication stay out of the fridge for very long. 30 minutes is the absolute maximum. Beyond that, the medication becomes ineffective.

desparte, Community Member
4/24/12 12:51am

I just came from my rheumatolgist who told me I could keep my humira out for 45 mintues to an hour? is this not correct?

Lene Andersen, Health Guide
4/24/12 3:08pm

I'm not quite sure about the answer to that question - I've been told 30 minutes, but it's possible that includes a bit of a buffer zone. You may want to talk to your pharmacist about it or better yet, call Humira's support program directly at 1-800-4HUMIRA (1-800-448-6472).

sunshinegal43oh, Community Member
7/30/10 2:09pm

Hi Jim. I was not given a choice...I started Enbrel back at the beginning of January, 2010. Within the first two weeks I felt a big difference in swelling and inflammation in my hands and feet.

Rheumies will warn that it could take as many as three months for the medication to be effective. So I was so excited that the Enbrel kicked in so quickly for me!

I started doing my injections in my thigh. God, did that hurt! Even sitting the injection pen out for ten minutes to bring the medicine to room temp didn't help. I read on here about people doing the inejction in the stomach (abdomen region) and tried it. Wow! HUGE difference! No more pain! Still a little bit of a sting when the medication first goes in, but nothing like the pain and bruising I experienced in the leg.....


Jim Shinn, Community Member
7/31/10 7:11pm

Thanks everyone who's replied!!!!  I fished a tournament today and my hands are killing me.  But I did finish in 3rd place so there is a consolation there isn't it!!!  I'll do some more homework but I'm leaning towards the Enbrel. 

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By Jim Shinn, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/03/12, First Published: 07/28/10