Humira vs. Orencia

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

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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.Orencia (Abatacept) decreases inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Orencia (Abatacept) slows the progress of rheumatoid arthritis, but can also have serious 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.Orencia (Abatacept) is called a DMARD, a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug. It prevents your body from activating cells that cause inflammation.
Type of medication
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Available as
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Humira (Adalimumab)
of people say Humira (Adalimumab) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
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 »
  • Headache 5%
  • High blood pressure 3%
  • Common cold 3%
  • Indigestion 2%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Rash 1%
  • Pain in extremity 1%
  • Cough 1%
  • Urinary tract infection 1%
More Orencia side effects »
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 »
            • Taking immunosuppressive medications
            • History of repeat infections
            • Adults with rheumatoid arthritis taking TNF inhibitors
            Detailed Orencia (Abatacept) 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
            CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

            Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

            See the FDA package insert
            No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
            No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
            Kidneys and liver
            No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
            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.
            • Helps minimize joint damage, lowers symptoms, and prevents future problems.
            • In a 2-year study that used IV Orencia (Abatacept) with methotrexate, more than half of the people had remission and the majority felt significantly better.
            • People taking [name-common] had no new joint damage after two years.
            • Taking Orencia (Abatacept) allows RA patients to use less prednisone, a steroid that has many side effects.
            • Orencia (Abatacept) can be used without other medications for RA.
            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'll have to get your blood tested regularly while taking Orencia (Abatacept).
            • You'll probably have to take other medications to help treat your RA symptoms.
            • Orencia (Abatacept) is pretty expensive.
            • The IV infusion form of Orencia (Abatacept) can cause a reaction, which ranges from a slight itching or warm feeling to more serious complications like low blood pressure and chest pain.
            • Because RA is chronic disease, you'll likely take Orencia (Abatacept) for many years.
            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.
            • Keep the Orencia (Abatacept) self-injection refrigerated, but let it rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before using it.
            • Each time you use Orencia (Abatacept), be sure to rotate the sites you chose to inject it in. Don't inject it where your skin is tender, bruised, red, or scaly.
            • If you decide to go with the IV version of Orencia (Abatacept), you will only need to get infusions once a month. The self-injections however need to be taken once a week.
            • If you get the IV infusion, stay hydrated, try to relax, and ask your nurse to apply dry heat (instant warm packs) to your arm to help find your good veins.
            Learn more
            More about HumiraSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            More about OrenciaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert