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Arch Hellen Med, 34(2), March-April 2017, 165-172


Serious infections and malignancies following the administration of adalimumab (Humira)
to patients with rheumatoid arthritis

D. Fragkou, P. Galanis
Center for Health Services Management and Evaluation, Department of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Adalimumab is a biological agent, and specifically it is a fully human anti-tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) monoclonal antibody, which is the first to be used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. This review evaluates the frequency of serious infections and malignancies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis after the use of adalimumab. Reports were reviewed of adalimumab administered as monotherapy or in combination with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, in comparison to the use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs as monotherapy or to placebo treatment. Literature review was made on the PubMed, using the key-words: "Rheumatoid arthritis", "adalimumab", "serious infection(s)", "malignancy(ies)", "Humira", "adult(s)", including clinical trials in English, up until 2015. The use of adalimumab does not appear to increase the frequency of serious infections and malignancies, apart from lymphoma and some forms of skin cancer, such as melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. The frequency of lymphoma in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is 2–3 times higher than that in the general population. Serious infections associated with the use of adalimumab are those of the upper respiratory system and their incidence is higher in patients who received adalimumab in combination with methotrexate.

Key words: Adalimumab, Adult, Humira, Malignancy, Rheumatoid arthritis, Serious infection.

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