Thursday, May 13, 2010 Frustrated!!!, Community Member, asks

Q: Enbrel vs. Humira

My doctor asked if I wanted to switch from Enbrel to Humira, is one any better than the other? Is there any difference in the two? When I asked these questions to the nurse-she left and consulted with the doctor-then informed me that she would let me decide. I feel like I don't have enough information to make the decision. She had already instructed me to stop taking the Enbrel and come back to see her in two weeks. I left feeling so confused!

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Answers (3)
Lisa Emrich, Health Guide
5/19/10 11:24am

Hi Frustrated!!


I just responded to another of your questions regarding the possibility of having MS.  I want to let you know (and other readers know) that if a patient does have MS (in addition to RA), they CANNOT use any of the TNF-blockers.  These drugs are contraindicated for MS.


I wrote about the RA biologic drugs in a series of posts.  Here was the first one: "Biologic Medications for RA: The Big Picture."

ronie, Community Member
5/17/10 6:31pm

Both Enbrel and Humira are TNF blockers they are just different chemicals that do the same job.  Your doctor/nurse probably asked you to make the decission because they want you to educate yourself and do the leg work.  If they are not seeing results from Enbrel they will ask you to switch and would want you to make an informed decission before hand.  I don't think they can change the dosages.


TNF is tumor necrosis factor.  As our immune system is overactive and confused about it's job, it produces too much TNF.  TNF regulates what our immune system cells do (i.e wait around for germs or go attack the stuff already in our body.)   Well, guess what it does in our case. You guessed it, attack our junk.


Enbrel and Humira suppress our immune system and the production of active TNF. WAALAA, no active attack on our junk, no active pain and swelling and stiffness.


I know I make it sound simple but someone has too.  The only draw back is the suppressed immune system.  Keep yourself healthy and away germs.  No need to become a Michael Jackson face mask wearing type though. 


One med is not better than the other, just a different chemical.  No harm in trying if Enbrel is not working. 


Keep us informed


Melissa, Community Member
1/11/12 3:13pm

My new doctor recently took me off Enbrel which I was on for 5 years, and only lately noticed I wasn't doing well on it any longer, feeling stiffness and pain, trouble getting up.  My new doctor put me on Humira, which is suppose to be better then Enbrel, it's suppose to stop the disease from progressing, something my doctor told me Enbrel was not doing, another reason why my RA was more advance, not better but getting worse.  I've only taken one shot and already feel better!  I do not like taking shots at all and trying to stay on a plant based diet to get off the medications.  It's not easy to travel overseas with these medications. 

I recently watched the documentary "Forks over Knives" and found it to be an eye opener and educating!  My husband is doing the plant based diet with me, easy if you follow how to eat the right foods and learn to stay on the wrong foods, which is what is making us all sick and be on medications.  It will educate everyone how eating right can make us all healthy and get off the medications.  I'm doing it and already feel better!  Good luck everyone!! :)


Melissa with RA 

Vicwalker, Community Member
1/29/13 5:11pm
If you are doing the plant base diet, I would highly recommend ! A wonderful source! Reply
Lene Andersen, Health Guide
5/20/10 11:40am

Given what Lisa mentioned about the TNF blockers being contraindicated for people who live with both RA and MS, I would recommend that you create a connection between the doctor treating your RA and the doctor who is treating your MS. I think it's important that they talk to each other regarding treatment to make sure that treatment for one condition doesn't exacerbate the other.

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By Frustrated!!!, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/29/13, First Published: 05/13/10