Amgevita

Also called adalimumab

Amgevita is used to treat some types of autoimmune conditions. Find out about how to take it safely and the possible side effects. Amgevita is also called adalimumab.

From 1 March 2022, most people using Humira will be changed to Amgevita. Read more about tips to help you transition from Humira to Amgevita.

What is Amgevita?

Amgevita is used to treat some types of autoimmune conditions (diseases in which the body's defence system or immune system attacks healthy tissues) such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritisankylosing spondylitis and skin diseases such as chronic plaque psoriasis. Amgevita is usually used when other treatments have not worked well.

Amgevita contains the medicine adalimumab. This is a type of medicine called a TNF inhibitor. It works by blocking natural inflammatory substances in the body called tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFa). This helps to reduce swelling (inflammation) and weaken your immune system, thereby slowing or stopping the damage from the disease. Read more about TNF inhibitors. 

Dose of Amgevita

  • The dose of Amgevita is different for different people. Your dose and how often you inject Amgevita will depend on what you are using it for and your age.
  • Inject Amgevita exactly as your doctor or nurse has told you. The pharmacy label will tell you how much Amgevita to use, how often to use it and any special instructions. 
  • You may not notice the effects of Amgevita straight away. It may take 2 weeks or up to 6 months.

How to use Amgevita

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Amgevita is available as a pre-filled pen (SureClick) or a pre-filled syringe. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist may discuss with you which device will suit you best based on your treatment plan.

Amgevita is given as an injection under the skin

Some people can give themselves the injection or it can be given by another person, for example, a whānau member or friend after proper training, or by your doctor or nurse. If you are unsure about how to inject Amgevita, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to show you. The following can be used as guides:

Preparation

Store Amgevita in the fridge. Take your Amgevita pen out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for 15–30 minutes before injecting. It is important that you don't warm it up in any other way, so don't warm it in the microwave or in hot water.

Injection sites

Choose an injection site, such as on the front of your thighs or your abdomen (belly) at least 5 cm from your belly button. The injection site should be different from your last injection site, at least 3 cm away. Do not inject into skin that is sore, bruised, red, hard, scarred, has stretch marks, or psoriasis plaques.

Note: In Aotearoa New Zealand, people taking Amgevita can get support from Amgevita.

Possible side effects of Amgevita

Like all medicines, Amgevita can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.

Increased risk of infections

Because Amgevita weakens your body's immune system, it can make it more likely for you to get infections. These infections may be mild (such as colds, sinusitis) or more severe such as tuberculosis (TB) and septicaemia (infection of the blood).

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop signs of infection such as  fever, chills, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms.

Other side effects

Side effects What should I do?
  • Reaction at the injection site such as bruising, redness, tenderness
  • Change the site for each subcutaneous injection (see tips above).
  • Tell your doctor if this does not settle. 
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Vomiting (being sick)
  • Indigestion
  • Tummy upset
  • Tell your doctor if these side effects bother you.
  • Problems sleeping
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Let your doctor know or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.
  • Blood in your stools (poo), coughing up blood (red or brown) or other signs of bleeding such as bruising
  • Let your doctor know or ring Healthline 0800 611 116
  • Signs of problems with your heart such as swollen feet or legs or problems breathing, shortness of breath, or feeling like your heart is racing.  
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116. 
  • Signs of TB such as a cough that won’t go away, night sweats, fever, weight loss. 
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116. 
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as muscle or joint pain, fever, rash, intense itching, swelling of the face or hands, sore throat, headache, or difficulty swallowing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.
For more information on side effects, see the Medsafe consumer information leaflets here.

Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM)? Report a side effect to a product.

Learn more

The following links have more information about Amgevita.
Amgevita Amgen, NZ
Amgevita Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet, NZ
Adalimumab Rheuminfo, US

References

  1. Adalimumab NZ Formulary, NZ
  2. Amgevita Medsafe Product Datasheet, NZ
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Maya Patel, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 25 Feb 2022