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Humira, an anti-TNF drug aimed at decreasing inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients, can cause skin diseases from a rash to skin cancer. Humira works by blocking the chemical receptor RANKL, which therefore halts the production of osteoclasts, which attack and eat bone and cartilage, causing inflammation in arthritis patient’s joints. By analyzing Humira’s effect on the human body, it can be compared against other treatments such as electro-acupuncture and pulsatile dry cupping to see if these alternative treatments can decrease inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients through blocking RANKL, and if they are safer methods for carrying out this treatment. Under close examination of scientific journals written on studies where patients and animals were treated with Humira, acupuncture, and cupping for inflammation due to arthritis, the data collected suggests that Humira, electro-acupuncture, and pulsatile dry cupping all decrease inflammation in the joints of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. However, acupuncture patients overall have the least harmful side-effects, with nausea and localized tingling being the most common complaints. These outcomes are less life-altering than localized bruising from cupping or the consequences of Humira which include an increased risk of cancer, and heat and liver failure. Therefore, electro-acupuncture and pulsatile dry cupping should be used as a viable safer alternative to Humira in treatment of inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. The data collected from this review is important because patients should know about less harmful alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, because it has been proven to have the same effects as Humira, but have less harmful consequences that will benefit the patient’s overall health.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Biomedical Engineering, Medicine

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Mary Boyes


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Is Part Of

VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

Analysis of Humira, Electro-Acupuncture, and Pulsatile Dry Cupping on Reducing Joint Inflammation in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis