Cosentyx (secukinumab) and Humira (adalimumab) are prescription medications used to treat certain inflammatory conditions. These include plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Both drugs are biologics. They block overactive parts of your immune system, which is your body’s defense against disease. They reduce inflammation and manage the symptoms of these conditions.

Cosentyx and Humira are both brand-name drugs. Cosentyx isn’t currently available in a biosimilar form. (A biosimilar is a medication that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug.) Humira has several biosimilars, but these aren’t yet available in the United States.

This article highlights the key differences between Cosentyx and Humira. This information may help you and your doctor decide if one of these drugs is right for you.

Note: For more comprehensive information about these two drugs, see our Cosentyx and Humira articles.

Cosentyx contains the active drug secukinumab. Humira contains the active drug adalimumab. Both medications are monoclonal antibodies. These are drugs made from immune system cells. They act on specific proteins in your body.

Cosentyx belongs to a class of medications called interleukin-17A (IL-17A) blockers. Humira belongs to a class of medications called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers. (A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.)

Cosentyx and Humira have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following conditions.

  • Both Cosentyx and Humira are FDA-approved to treat:
  • Cosentyx is also FDA-approved to treat:
    • moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in children ages 6 years and older who may need phototherapy or systemic therapy
    • active psoriatic arthritis in children ages 2 years and older
    • active enthesitis-related arthritis (a form of arthritis in which your entheses, areas on your bones where tendons and ligaments attach, are inflamed) in adults and children ages 4 years and older
    • active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (inflammation in your spine or pelvis that doesn’t show up on X-rays) in adults with signs of inflammation in blood tests or MRI scans
  • Humira is also FDA-approved to treat:
    • moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease) in certain adults and children ages 5 years and older
    • uveitis (swelling in a part of your eye) in adults and children ages 2 years and older

* “Active” means that you currently have symptoms.

Cosentyx or Humira and children

Cosentyx and Humira have certain approved uses in children.

Specifically, Cosentyx is approved for use in children ages:

  • 6 years and older with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis
  • 4 years and older with active enthesitis-related arthritis
  • 2 years and older with active psoriatic arthritis

Humira is approved for use in children ages:

  • 2 years and older with active* juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • 2 years and older with uveitis
  • 5 years and older with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis
  • 6 years and older with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease
  • 12 years and older with moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa

* “Active” means that you currently have symptoms.

Cosentyx and Humira contain different active drugs and work in different but similar ways. Therefore, these medications can cause some similar and some different side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

The following lists address some of the more common mild side effects of Cosentyx and Humira, as well as some that both drugs share based on clinical trial data. For more information on mild side effects of the two drugs, see the prescribing information for Cosentyx and Humira.

Serious side effects

The following lists address the serious side effects of Cosentyx and Humira, as well as some that both drugs share.

Note: For more information about mild and serious side effects, see our Cosentyx and Humira articles.

* Humira has boxed warnings for this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more information, see the “Warnings of Cosentyx and Humira” section below.

Both Cosentyx and Humira are given as a subcutaneous injection. At first, your healthcare professional will give you either injection. Once they train you, you’ll be able to give yourself injections at home with a prefilled pen or syringe.

The dosage for either drug will depend on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes for you.

For Cosentyx

Here’s some information about the forms and dosages of Cosentyx.

Cosentyx comes in three forms, and each contains 150 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) of the drug:

  • liquid solution in a single-use Sensoready pen
  • liquid solution in a single-use prefilled syringe
  • powder in a single-use vial*

* Only a healthcare professional can give Cosentyx in this form. They’ll mix the powder with a solution and give you the injection.

For plaque psoriasis in adults, you’ll have two injections every week for 5 weeks. After 5 weeks, you’ll have two injections once every 4 weeks.

For psoriatic arthritis in adults, depending on how severe your condition is, your doctor may give you a loading dose. This is a higher dose of medication at the beginning of treatment so that the drug can start working more quickly. You’ll have an injection once a week for 5 weeks. After 5 weeks, you’d need an injection once every 4 weeks.

If your doctor doesn’t think that a loading dose is the right option for you, you can start with an injection once every 4 weeks.

For adults with both plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, you’ll have the same dosage schedule as if you just have plaque psoriasis. See above for details.

For ankylosing spondylitis, the dosage schedule is the same as for psoriatic arthritis. See above for details.

For Humira

Here’s some information about the forms and dosages of Humira.

Humira comes as a liquid solution in three forms:

  • single-use prefilled pen that contains 40 milligrams (mg) or 80 mg of the drug
  • single-use prefilled syringe that contains 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg of the drug
  • single-use vial* that contains 40 mg of the drug

For plaque psoriasis, you’ll have an injection once in the first week. Then, you’ll have an injection once every 2 weeks, starting 1 week after your first dose.

For psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, you’ll have an injection once every 2 weeks.

* Only a healthcare professional can give you Humira in this form.

Here are answers to some common questions about Cosentyx and Humira.

What are the rarer side effects of Cosentyx and Humira?

Serious side effects occur more rarely than mild side effects. To read about some of the rare but serious side effects of these drugs, see the “Side effects of Cosentyx vs. Humira” section above.

For more information on the possible side effects of Cosentyx and Humira, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Can Cosentyx and Humira be used together?

No, these drugs aren’t typically used together. If one of these drugs isn’t working for you, your doctor will usually recommend stopping treatment and trying a different drug instead.

Cosentyx and Humira may not be effective for some people. And these drugs may become less effective after you’ve taken them for a long time. However, it’s possible to switch treatment from Cosentyx to Humira or vice versa.

Cosentyx and Humira work differently in your body, so if one drug isn’t controlling your symptoms, it’s possible that the other will. Switching treatment might also be an option if you have bothersome side effects with one of these drugs.

If you’re interested in switching from Cosentyx to Humira or vice versa, talk with your doctor. They can determine whether switching treatment is the right option for you. And if it is, they’ll suggest the best way to make the switch.

How your treatment is switched may depend on the reason for switching and the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor may simply switch you to the new treatment when your next dose is due. Or they may ask you to wait until one drug is fully removed from your system before you start the other.

Never switch treatments without your doctor’s approval and guidance.

How much Cosentyx or Humira costs depends on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes, your insurance plan, and your pharmacy. You can find price estimates for these medications on WellRx.com.

Both Cosentyx and Humira are brand-name drugs. Cosentyx isn’t currently available in a biosimilar form. (A biosimilar is a medication that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug.) Humira has several biosimilars, but these aren’t yet available in the U.S.

Cosentyx and Humira have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Both drugs have been found to be effective for these conditions.

For information about how these drugs performed in clinical studies, see the prescribing information for Cosentyx and Humira.

Both drugs are recommended as treatment options for treating plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in guidelines from the National Psoriasis Foundation. They’re also recommended as treatment options for ankylosing spondylitis in guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology.

Cosentyx and Humira share some of the same warnings, but they also have different ones. Some of these warnings are mentioned below. Before you start using Cosentyx or Humira, be sure to talk with your doctor to see if these warnings apply to you.

Boxed warnings

Humira has boxed warnings for serious infections and cancer. Boxed warnings are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Serious infections. Humira can raise your risk for serious infections that may need treatment in a hospital. In some cases, these infections can lead to death. Examples of such infections include sepsis (a blood infection), tuberculosis (TB), and invasive fungal infections. They also include infections that usually only affect people with weakened immune systems.

Your doctor will test you for TB before you start taking Humira. If you have TB, it’ll need to be treated before you start Humira. If you develop a serious infection while taking Humira, you’ll likely need to stop taking this drug.

Cancer. Some people taking Humira, including children and teenagers, have developed certain types of cancer. These include lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells). Some of these cancers were fatal. A rare type of lymphoma called hepatosplenic T cell lymphoma occurred mostly in young adults and teenage males* with inflammatory bowel disease.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Other warnings

In addition to the boxed warnings for Humira above, Cosentyx and Humira have other warnings.

If any of the following medical conditions or other health factors are relevant to you, talk with your doctor before using Cosentyx or Humira.

Note: For more information about the warnings for these two drugs, see our Cosentyx and Humira articles.

If you’re interested in taking Cosentyx or Humira for plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis, talk with your doctor. They can help you decide if one of these two drugs, or another medication, is right for you. Discuss the information in this article as well as your full health history.

The key differences between Cosentyx and Humira lie in how often these drugs are taken and their possible side effects. Cosentyx is taken every 4 weeks, while Humira needs to be taken every 2 weeks. And Cosentyx causes fewer side effects, particularly serious side effects, than Humira.

But it’s also important to consider your health history. For example, if you have inflammatory bowel disease, taking Cosentyx could make it worse. On the other hand, Humira is approved to treat this condition.

If you’d like to learn more about Cosentyx or Humira, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about taking either drug.

Note: For more information on conditions treated by these drugs, see our lists of articles on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.