At the beginning of 2013 I would get blood work done monthly and report back to my rheumatologist. I was doing well, but we had decided that we were going to attack my psoriatic arthritis aggressively. My knee swelling definitely had gone down, but it still wasn’t anyway close to normal … aaaaaannnndddd I was still in pretty good pain. My rheumatologist pushed my insurance and was able to get them to approve Humira injections a few months earlier than they usually would have. I started the methotrexate in January and humira at the end of March.
YIPPIE! I GET TO START INJECTING MYSELF! I’ve always wanted to…
This wasn’t a very exciting thing for me to start. I always joked about how I would never do drugs because I could never stand injecting myself with something. Now I found myself faced with having to give myself bi-weekly self-injections. I knew I could do it though. If this was going to make me feel better I could suck it up and stab myself!
Not knowing what to expect made the first one a bit nerve wracking. I grabbed what I thought to be the humira pen, took the cap off and began counting down. It took me a good 5 false starts before I pulled the trigger. It was painless. I didn’t feel a thing! I was so excited and happy and then mad at myself for building it up in my head…. Then I looked down at my leg and noticed there wasn’t even a mark from the injection. It was then that I closely examined the humira pen and realized I HAD GRABBED THE PRACTICE ONE! Ahhhhhhh. Well, my Mom, Dad and I had a good laugh and then pulled the REAL humira pen out of the fridge. After waiting the half hour for the pen to warm up, it only too me 2 count downs to pull the trigger.
Man, I definitely underestimated the burning sensation the injection was going to have. The great thing about it was that it only lasted about 15-20 second. 15-20 seconds of pain bi-weekly vs. constant join pain? I could deal with it.
As the weeks have gone by and I’ve done more and more of them the burning honestly doesn’t bother me as much. The key is to make sure you set out the pen for a half hour before you inject it. Let it warm up!! Don’t do it cold… just don’t.
They say not to inject yourself in the same spot every time. I rotate locations. One week I do the left leg, next the right leg and the third time is in the stomach. Then I start all over again! I put a reminder in my calendar so that I keep track easily. Once you’re signed up and start your medication, make sure to go and sign up for the myHUMIRA program. One thing that makes it so much easier is that this website offers a service that texts your phone on the day you’re supposed to take your meds. It’s awesome when I get a text and it reminds me to take my injection! They also offer travel kits for your humira pens, syringe disposal containers, 24/7 nurse lines and more. It’s definitely worth setting up an online account.
The most important thing you can sign up for is the humira assistance program. It will take your copays from $120 a month to $5! Here is an application that you and your physician can fill out to apply for the card. My rheumatologist signed me up for the assistance program before I even left her office. Make sure to ask about. The program also covers other medications as well – like methotrexate- so when you sign up make sure to ask about any other medications that you’re on!
I receive my humira through Acredo Express Scripts. It’s convenient because they deliver the pens right to my door. Depending on your insurance you’ll probably have to go with a different speciality pharmacy. I always make sure to ask for a package of alcohol wipes! And as a bonus the pens come in little styrofoam coolers that are the perfect size to fill with jello shots… you know… to take to tailgates… hey! when you’re getting injections in the mail you have to dream about more fun things ok!
Knock on wood- to date I haven’t had any side effects from the medication. Lately I have noticed that the first week I feel great. As the second week goes on my knee starts to hurt more and my hands really start to ache. By the weekend before my next shot my hands always take a few hours to warm up before they’re ready for the day. I plan on definitely bringing this up with my rheumatologist at my next appointment in a few weeks. We shall see if anything changes.
I do not feel that the medication helps with any fatigue symptoms. Really doesn’t. I’ve been working with my diet to try to relieve some of these symptoms… I’m working on it… still waiting for it to go away. The bad thing is that I feel when you bring up these symptoms to doctors they seem to brush it off. They say things like ‘oh you need to be more active’ or ‘oh you need to do this or that’. Easier said than done… I’m on crutches! It’s not like I can go take a walk around the block to get my energy levels ups. But anyways, that’s a whole other post 😉
Humira has been a good addition to my medication regiment. I would recommend this medication to others who have been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Please let me know if you have any questions on anything on this medication! I’ll tell ya straight up what I think.
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!