Humira is a drug with many uses, like treating rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis, although I’ve only seen it being advertised on television for psoriasis treatment. And, after seeing the commercial a few times, I don’t think I would use Humira if I had psoriasis.
I often find myself rolling my eyes at commercials for prescription medications that run through a long list of side effects that are worse than the condition the medication is supposed to be treating, like an asthma medication that increases your chance of asthma-related death (this would be the heavily-advertised Advair). However, Humira really takes the cake when it comes to horrible side effects that are much worse than the underlying condition. The Humira commercial ensures that viewers know that by taking such a drug with so many potentially deadly side effects they are playing a deadly game of Russian roulette.
The commercial focuses on people from all walks of life smiling and proudly baring their arms (maybe they’ve just been inspired by our First Lady’s love of showing a little bicep). A soothing female voiceover first tells us how much effective Humira is, but then, while people continue to smile and do their everyday thing, the voice stops praising the drug and things take a darker turn.
These smiling people don’t seem to realize that the voice is listing off all of the ways they can possibly die. Apparently the drug lowers the body’s ability to fight infections like tuberculosis, which have proved fatal in some users. She also says that cancer, blood disorders, nervous system disorders, allergic disorders, and new or worsening heart failure have occurred in some users. So you may die a miserable death, but at least you will be able to play basketball and roll up your shirtsleeves (this is really a testament to how vain we all are).
But while Humira is probably the worst psoriasis medication on the market, it’s not the worst one for one of the other conditions it is used to treat, rheumatoid arthritis. That award would go to Raptiva, a drug that the FDA now warns can cause brain infections.
You’re lucky if you have used these drugs with success, but keep in mind that they lower your immune system’s ability to fight certain infections like tuberculosis and fungal infections, and you may have just not come in contact with any of the fungi or bacteria that cause them. So it could only be a matter of time before you end up suffering from something much worse than what you are trying to treat.
If your doctor recommends any kind of drug, go ahead and take the prescription for it, but go home and research it online before you go pick it up (doctors won’t always list off all of the serious side effects for you). If you’re unhappy with the list of side effects you find, go back and ask him about other options. Drug companies may want you to believe that life is just like a Humira commercial, but try to find someone who has contracted a life-threatening disease from the drug smiling, showing off their arms, and playing basketball.