Compare Humira vs. Methotrexate

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.



Calms down your immune system. Humira (Adalimumab) is very effective at calming down your immune system, but it's expensive, you have to take into account the hassle of injections and traveling with the medication.Treats cancer and changes how your immune system works. Otrexup (Methotrexate) is a first line treatment for many autoimmune diseases and types of cancer. If you're taking it for a long time, you'll have to get routine blood tests.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Humira (Adalimumab)
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say it works well
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164 reviews

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Side effects
  • Injection site reactions 6%
  • Rash 6%
  • Positive titers 5%
  • Upper respiratory infection 4%
  • Headache 4%
  • Abdominal pain 3%
  • Urinary tract infection 3%
  • High blood pressure 2%
  • Alkaline phosphatase increased 2%
  • High blood lipid levels 2%
More Humira side effects »

The Methotrexate FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Methotrexate side effects »
How it works
Humira (Adalimumab) is a biologic response modifier. It works in the immune system to block a protein called TNF (tumor necrosis factor). Blocking TNF relieves symptoms and prevents disease progression.Otrexup (Methotrexate) is an anti-cancer and immunosuppressive medication that treats forms of cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis. For cancer, it helps your body destroy cancer cells by blocking building blocks that cancer cells need to grow. For rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, it lowers the body's normal immune response and prevents the body from attacking itself.
Type of medication
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Available as
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
    • History of heart failure
    • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
    • Age 60 or older
    • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
    • History of malignancy
    • History of neurologic condition
      Detailed Humira (Adalimumab) risks & warnings »
      • Women of childbearing age
      • Men of childbearing potential
        • Reduced kidney function
        • fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
        • fluid in the lungs (pleural effusion)
        • Long-term use
        • Psoriasis
          • Taking Otrexup (Methotrexate) with high-dose NSAIDs
            • Taking Otrexup (Methotrexate) to treat cancer
            • Rapidly growing tumors
            Detailed Otrexup (Methotrexate) risks & warnings »
            Pregnancy category
            BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

            Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

            See the FDA package insert
            XFDA pregnancy category (Unsafe)

            Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

            See the FDA package insert
            No specific alcohol-related info.
            • You have to avoid alcohol and being in the sun too long.
            • Don't use alcohol, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications), or stay in the sun too long.
            No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
            Kidneys and liver
            No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
            • If you're taking Otrexup (Methotrexate), you’ll need to have your blood checked to avoid toxic effects (blood cells, platelets, liver enzymes, kidney function) and chest X-rays when you start and every 1 to 2 months during treatment. Otrexup (Methotrexate) can also cause malignant lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells). It can happen when you take low-doses of Otrexup (Methotrexate).
            • You are at higher risk of having toxic symptoms because of too much Otrexup (Methotrexate) in your blood if you have kidney disease, or if you have fluid in the abdomen (ascites) or in the lungs (pleural effusion). Your doctor will monitor your body's reaction to Otrexup (Methotrexate) very closely if they decide you need to be on Otrexup (Methotrexate).
            • Tumor lysis syndrome happens when cancer cells are broken down very quickly and damage the kidneys. The damage can be so bad that people need dialysis. If you're taking Otrexup (Methotrexate) to treat cancer, your doctor can give you medicines and take measures to prevent this reaction.
            No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
            No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
            • Humira (Adalimumab) can increase your risk of serious or life-threatening bacterial, fungal and viral infections. In some cases infections can be reactivated from an inactive virus in your body like tuberculosis (TB) or hepatitis B virus (HBV). You may need to take medicine for TB before you can begin taking Humira (Adalimumab). If you develop symptoms of cough, fever, chills, muscle aches, feel very tired, or you notice dark urine, yellowing of skin/eyes, appetite/weight loss, vomiting, change in stool color, stomach discomfort, and skin rash, tell your doctor and get medical care right away.
            No specific weight-related info.
            Upsides and benefits
            • Treats certain types of arthritis and gastrointestinal conditions caused by an overactive immune system.
            • Most people feel it's worth the hassle.
            • Once you've learned the correct way to use Humira, you can inject the medicine yourself without going to your doctor's office.
            • It's available in a single-use pen (Humira Pen) that may be more convenient and easier for some people to use.
            • It's an alternative for people with Crohn's disease who stopped getting better on other TNF-blockers or had side effects that made them switch.
            • Recommended as first line treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
            • Available as a generic medication. Comes as a tablet, an injection that you give yourself weekly, and as an infusion that you get in your doctor's office or at an infusion center.
            • If you accidentally take too much, there's an antidote to help your body recover.
            Downsides and risks
            • It's an injection.
            • It's expensive because there's no generic available yet.
            • Humira lowers your ability to fight infection and can cause serious life-threatening illness. The risk is greater if you take other drugs that lower your immune system, have an active infection, diabetes, or had tuberculosis (TB) in the past.
            • You're first dose of Humira will need to be given at your doctor's office. If you decide not to self-inject and don't have someone to do it for you, you'll need to continue to see your doctor for each dose.
            • You'll need to properly dispose of the needle, syringes, or Pen in a special (FDA-approved) sharps container.
            • Because it needs to be refrigerated until you use it, if you're traveling, you'll need to carry it in a cooler with an ice pack.
            • You have to be on birth control for at least 2 to 3 months after you finish Otrexup (Methotrexate) since it can cause birth defects.
            • You have to avoid alcohol and being in the sun too long.
            • You'll have to get blood tests done if you're taking this long-term because it can cause harmful side effects.
            Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
            • Humira (Adalimumab) is a medication that's injected under the skin (subcutaneous). Your doctor can give you your first dose, then let you self-inject it once so you learn how to do it correctly.
            • Humira (Adalimumab) lowers the your immune system's ability to fight infections, so it's important to let your doctor know if you come down with a fever, cough, or notice flu-like symptoms.
            • You'll need to have a TB test before you start using Humira (Adalimumab).
            • Tell your doctor if you have an allergy to latex since the syringe needle cover has latex in it.
            • Don't inject Humira (Adalimumab) into skin that's red, bruised, or irritated. Rotate your injection areas to avoid skin reactions.
            • As with all injection medicines, store away from children and throw used syringes away in a protective container, and not in the trash.
            • Don't use alcohol, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications), or stay in the sun too long.
            • Use birth control and avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months (for women) and 3 months (for men) after you finish Otrexup (Methotrexate).
            • Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated while taking this.
            • Take the medication exactly as your doctor or pharmacist tells you. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you're confused.
            Learn more
            More about HumiraSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            More about MethotrexateSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert