Treating Eye Inflammation with Humira: A Non-Steroidal Alternative

Treating Eye Inflammation with Humira

Patients who suffer from eye inflammation finally have an alternative solution to the typical steroid-based treatments offered by doctors. Adalimumab, sold as “Humira”, is the new and improved solution to treating patients with non-infectious uveitis (a group of diseases that cause eye inflammation.)

In Brief: Alternative Treatment to Steroids, Reduced Symptoms

According to Glenn Jaffe, M.D. and professor at Duke University School of Medicine in the Department of Ophthalmology, adalimumab targets the protein that causes eye inflammation. This FDA-approved treatment was a result of two clinical studies proving its effectiveness. Jaffe explained that many patients experience unwanted side effects after using treatments with steroids long-term, particularly those suffering from uveitis.

 The Study

Jaffe and his colleagues carefully tested 217 individuals with active, non-infectious intermediate or posterior uveitis, with the hopes of “delaying or eliminating recurrences” of symptoms caused by uveitis such as vision loss, and eye pain. The active and ongoing inflammation could potentially decrease vision permanently.

Researchers analyzed the patients’ treatment time to failure (how soon they witnessed a returned or worsening symptom) of one or more of four signs of eye inflammation. Those four signs are: reduced visual clarity, newly inflamed spots at the back of the eye, more cloudiness of the eye’s gel fill, and more inflammatory cells in the front of the eye.

The Findings

The study revealed the median time to treatment failure was 13 weeks in the placebo groups and 24 weeks in the adalimumab group. Those taking adalimumab, or Humira, were significantly less likely to experience treatment failure during the 80-week study and had a decreased risk of treatment failure due to the aforementioned four signs.

In simpler terms, adalimumab significantly delays treatment failure, visual impairment and inflammation. That being said, the study authors note that patients in the adalimumab group suffered serious adverse effects more frequently than the placebo group.


Jaffe, G. J., et al., “Adalimumab in Patients with Active Noninfectious Uveitis,” The New England Journal of Medicine, September 8, 2016; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1509852.