Monday, January 6, 2014

Drug Advertising and Label Creep: Humira

adalimumab, Humira, drug, side-effect, plaque psoriasis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis

I am sure one that'll be on the list of killer drugs soon is Humira (adalimumab) manufactured by Abbot Laboratories (calling themselves "Abbvie"). If you watch any TV at all, I'm sure you've seen the saturation marketing. It is an extremely strong immune suppressant given only by IV, originally developed as a therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. It has now had its label extended to apply to plaque psoriasis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and who knows what's next. It's a terrifically powerful drug, whose acknowledged side effects include tuberculosis, infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria, cancer, hepatitis B, allergic reactions, nervous system problems, blood problems, heart failure, immune reactions including a lupus-like syndrome, liver problems, and new or worsening psoriasis. We need to (1) stop advertising all drugs directly to consumers, and (2) be extremely slow in approving diseases or conditions that the drug was not developed for, nor adequately tested against.

2 comments:

  1. I take Humira for Psoriatic Arthritis and it makes the difference between walking and being pushed in a wheelchair. The alternative is Methotrexate by injection which is Chemotherapy and awful. I have no connection with Abbot Labs and I checked the testing before starting to take it for this condition since early 2010 so it's not a new claim.

    My body produces too much TNF (Tumour Necrosis Factor) and Humira is designed to soak up the excess. It works and makes my life bearable.

    Steve

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  2. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I agree this medication was developed for people suffering as you are. But I am very concerned that the huge marketing push underway, including the very large number of TV commercials on virtually every network, is dangerously inappropriate for this or any other drug.

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