Stelara and Humira are two biologics that help treat immune conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis and Crohn’s disease. In this article, we look at the similarities and differences in their effects, benefits, and risks.
Biological medicines, or biologics, are a class of drugs composed of naturally occurring molecules, such as sugars and proteins. Some biologics contain living cells or tissues. Manufacturers design these drugs to replicate proteins and other molecules that the body naturally produces.
Doctors use Stelara and Humira to treat a number of autoimmune diseases, including psoriatic arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Read on to learn about the similarities and differences of Stelara and Humira as treatments for various conditions.
What is Humira?
Humira is a brand name for the biological medicine adalimumab.
Doctors use this medicine to treat a number of long-term illnesses that impact the immune system. These include psoriatic arthritis, which affects the joints, and Crohn’s disease, which affects the digestive system.
People with these conditions have higher levels of a protein called tumor necrosis factor alpha. This causes inflammation in the body.
Humira works by attaching to these proteins and stopping them from working. This can reduce the inflammation that causes many of the conditions’ symptoms.
Stelara is the brand name for the biological medicine ustekinumab.
Like Humira, doctors use this medicine to treat autoimmune conditions, which are diseases that affect the immune system. Stelara works by targeting two proteins in the body, interleukin-12 (IL-12) and interleukin-23 (IL-23).
In healthy people, IL-12 and IL-23 cause temporary inflammation to help the body fight infection. In people with psoriatic arthritis or Chron’s disease, the body produces too much IL-12 and IL-23, causing excess inflammation when it is not needed.
How are they different?
The two medicines both impact the immune system, but in different ways.
There are similarities and differences in the ways that both drugs work, their side effects, and their risks as treatments for various medical conditions, which we discuss below.
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