If you have plaque psoriasis, your doctor may recommend either Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa) or Humira (adalimumab) for you.
Although Skyrizi is only used for plaque psoriasis, Humira has many other uses as well. See the “What are Skyrizi and Humira used for?” section below to learn more.
Both drugs are given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin).
Skyrizi and Humira are both biologic drugs. This means they’re made from living cells. Neither drug is available in a biosimilar form. To learn more about biosimilars, see the “What are the ingredients in Skyrizi and Humira?” section below.
There are many treatment options for people living with psoriasis. This article covers the similarities and differences between Skyrizi and Humira so you and your doctor can make the best decisions for your treatment.
Skyrizi contains the active drug risankizumab-rzaa. Skyrizi belongs to a drug class called IL-23 blockers. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.)
The active drug in Humira is adalimumab. Humira belongs to a drug class called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers.
Skyrizi and Humira are both biologic drugs, which means they’re made from living cells. These drugs are not currently available in a biosimilar form. Biosimilars are like generic* drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for nonbiologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs.
* A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication that’s made from chemicals.
Both Skyrizi and Humira can be used to treat plaque psoriasis that’s considered moderate to severe. Plaque psoriasis is a skin condition that causes you to develop red or discolored scaly patches (called plaques) on your skin. Plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, which means that your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.
The lists below include the conditions that each drug can treat.
- Both Skyrizi and Humira are used to treat:
- plaque psoriasis
- Humira is also used to treat:
To learn more about Humira’s use in treating these other conditions, see this in-depth article.
Skyrizi or Humira and children
Skyrizi is not used in children. Humira, on the other hand, can be used in some children.
Specifically, Humira can be used in:
- children ages 12 years and older with moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa
- children ages 2 years and older with moderate to severe juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- children ages 6 years and older with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease, if other treatments haven’t worked
- children ages 2 years and older with uveitis
Whether you have health insurance or not, cost may be a factor when you’re considering these drugs. To see cost estimates for Skyrizi and Humira based on where you live, visit WellRx.com. But keep in mind that what you’ll pay for either drug will depend on your treatment plan, health insurance, and the pharmacy you use.
Skyrizi and Humira are both brand-name biologic drugs. (Biologic drugs are made from living cells.) These drugs are not currently available in a biosimilar form. Biosimilars are like generic* drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for non-biologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs. You’ll usually pay more for brand-name drugs than for biosimilars or generics.
* A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication that’s made from chemicals.
Both Skyrizi and Humira can cause side effects, which may be mild or severe. To learn about some of the side effects that can occur with Skyrizi or Humira, see the “Mild side effects” and “Serious side effects” sections below.
Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Skyrizi or Humira, visit MedWatch.
Mild side effects
Skyrizi and Humira may cause mild side effects in some people. The chart below lists examples of mild side effects that have been reported with these drugs.
|Reactions at the injection site, such as itching, redness, or discoloration||X||X|
|Upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold||X||X|
|Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot||X||X|
|Fatigue (lack of energy)||X|
Serious side effects
In addition to the mild side effects listed above, serious side effects may occur in some people using Skyrizi or Humira. See the chart below for a list of possible serious side effects.
|Serious infections, such as pneumonia||X||X†|
|Increased risk of cancer†||X|
|Reactivation of hepatitis B (if you’ve had the virus before)||X|
|Decreased blood cells, such as red or white blood cells||X|
|Nerve conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS)||X|
* An allergic reaction is possible after using Skyrizi. However, it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.
† Humira has a
If you have questions about your risk for these serious side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about Skyrizi and Humira.
Are Skyrizi and Humira used to treat psoriatic arthritis?
At this time, Skyrizi is only approved to treat plaque psoriasis. Humira is also approved for this use. Plaque psoriasis is a skin condition that causes you to develop red or discolored scaly patches (called plaques) on your skin.
If you have psoriatic arthritis, talk with your doctor about the best treatment options for you.
Can I take other medications along with Skyrizi or Humira to treat my plaque psoriasis?
Yes. In many cases, your doctor may recommend that you take more than one medication to treat your plaque psoriasis. This may include topical medications, such as steroid creams, that help with symptoms of plaque psoriasis.
Before you start Skyrizi or Humira, tell your doctor about all of the medications and supplements that you take. They can determine if it’s safe for you to continue taking your current medications along with Skyrizi or Humira.
How should I store my Skyrizi or Humira medication?
Both Skyrizi and Humira should be stored in a refrigerator at temperatures of 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) in the original packaging. This carton helps protect the medication from light. You should never store Skyrizi or Humira in the freezer.
Humira can be taken out of the refrigerator and stored at room temperature (up to 77°F/25°C) for up to 14 days. After 14 days at room temperature, if you haven’t used the medication, you should discard it. Skyrizi should not be stored at room temperature.
If you have other questions about storing Skyrizi or Humira, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
What should I do with my used syringe or prefilled pen?
Once you inject your dose of Skyrizi or Humira, be sure to dispose of the used syringe or prefilled pen properly. It’s very important to use a new needle each time to prevent the risk of infection. Never use needles that have been previously used.
After each injection, you’ll have a needle or prefilled syringe to dispose of. You may also need to dispose of unused medication if you’ve stopped taking the drug.
It’s important to dispose of your medication properly to make sure no one is exposed to the drug or used needle. Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend the best way to dispose of your used Skyrizi or Humira. They may recommend a sharps container to keep used needles in.
Skyrizi and Humira are both solutions that come in prefilled syringes. Humira is also available in a vial or a prefilled pen injector. Both medications are given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin).
After you get your first dose of Skyrizi, you’ll likely get your second dose 4 weeks later. After that, you only need to get a dose every 12 weeks. Humira, on the other hand, is typically used every week or every other week, depending on your condition.
Your dosage of either Skyrizi or Humira will depend on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes for you.
You may wonder whether Skyrizi or Humira are effective at treating your condition. Both drugs are used to treat plaque psoriasis. Humira is also used to treat many other conditions. (To learn more, see the “What are Skyrizi and Humira used for?” section above.)
Both drugs have been shown to be effective at treating plaque psoriasis. In addition, Skyrizi and Humira are both recommended in the American Academy of Dermatology’s psoriasis treatment guidelines.
To learn more about how each drug performed in studies, see the prescribing information for Skyrizi and Humira. You can also read more about each drug on the manufacturer websites for Skyrizi and Humira.
Skyrizi and Humira may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Here, these are referred to as warnings. The two drugs share some of the same warnings, but they also have different ones. Some of these warnings are mentioned below. Before you start using Skyrizi or Humira, be sure to talk with your doctor to see if these warnings apply to you.
Boxed warnings for Humira
- Serious infections. Using Humira may weaken your immune system. This could raise your risk for developing a serious infection such as pneumonia or tuberculosis (TB). These infections may be very serious and can lead to a hospital stay or even death. If you develop any serious infections while using Humira, your doctor will stop your treatment and switch you to another drug to treat your condition. They may also do tests before you start Humira to be sure you don’t have any infections, such as TB.
- Cancer. During your Humira treatment, you may have a higher risk for certain types of cancer, such as blood cancers, colon cancer, or breast cancer. Before starting Humira, talk with your doctor about any history of cancer. Your doctor may also monitor you closely during your treatment to watch for any signs of cancer.
In addition to boxed warnings, Skyrizi and Humira have other warnings.
Before using Skyrizi or Humira, talk with your doctor if any of the following conditions or health factors apply to you.
- Warnings for both Skyrizi and Humira:
- if you’ve had an allergic reaction to either drug or any of its ingredients
- if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
- if you have a history of TB
- if you have a current infection
- Warnings for Humira:
- if you have or have had hepatitis B
- if you have certain nerve conditions, such as multiple sclerosis
- if you have heart failure
- if you have liver disease
- Warnings for Skyrizi:
- no unique warnings
The short answer: It’s possible.
Details: If your current treatment is working for you, you likely won’t switch drugs. However, if you need to change treatments due to a reaction or your medication being ineffective for you, it’s possible to switch between Skyrizi and Humira.
When asking your doctor about making a change, be sure to discuss why you want to switch drugs. Their recommendation may vary depending on whether you want to switch because of side effects or if the medication is not working like you hoped it would.
You’ll likely have to wait a certain amount of time between using these two medications.
If you have plaque psoriasis and currently use Humira, you should wait 2 weeks after your last Humira dose before starting Skyrizi. If you currently use Skyrizi, you should wait 4 weeks after your last dose of Skyrizi before starting Humira.
If you’re interested in changing drugs, talk with your doctor about the possible benefits of switching and the best way to do so.
Reminder: You shouldn’t switch drugs or stop your current treatment unless your doctor recommends it. This can be dangerous, and if your doses are not properly spaced out, you may experience side effects from the medications.
Skyrizi and Humira are both used to treat plaque psoriasis. In addition, Humira can also be used for many other conditions.
Both Skyrizi and Humira are given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin). However, these drugs differ in how often they’re used.
You’ll likely need to get a dose of Humira every week or every other week. Skyrizi is used less frequently. After your first dose, you’ll likely get a dose 4 weeks later and then a dose once every 12 weeks.
Both medications can increase your risk for infection and may cause reactions at the injection site. Humira has some other serious side effects as well, including a
If you have any questions about these drugs, talk with your doctor. They can recommend the best treatment option for you. Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor include:
- How can I lower my risk for an infection while using Skyrizi or Humira?
- Do any of my current medications interact with Skyrizi or Humira?
- What blood tests will I need to have done before I start treatment with either Skyrizi or Humira?
- How long should it take before I feel a difference from Skyrizi or Humira?
If you use Skyrizi or Humira for psoriasis, subscribe to Healthline’s online newsletter for tips on managing psoriasis symptoms, dealing with flare-ups, and more.
Disclaimer: Healthline 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 other 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.