Humira, the new adventure for me. Side effects? Advice?

I just learned that I am going to be taking Humira next week since MxT didnt do a thing. I was wanting to hear any advice one might have about getting through the injections since I HATE needles. Also, what some side effect there might be?

Congrats Morgan! I’m glad that they are putting you on a biologic so quickly. There are possible side effects for any med, but not everyone will have side effects, and they may be pretty minor.

I just started my first biologic, Enbrel, five weeks ago. Side effects? A very minor injection site reaction. That’s it. I’ve been exposed to tons of germs and not gotten sick. Just saying. It’s easy to focus on possible side effects. But your doctor wouldn’t be considering it if the benefits didn’t outweigh the possible risks.

You can search the discussion forums for Humira, but realize that everyone’s experience will vary. In terms of the actual injection, I’m using an auto injector, and it’s super easy.

Hi Fighter… Don’t worry about the needle used for biologics. You will use a small fine needle that in my experience doesn’t even bleed after the inject (beyond a pin prick amount). Stay positive… I have had bad reactions to Enbrel, Humira, and Stelara, but I am hopeful something is going to work for me. Good luck!

Hi Morgan,

Great to hear you are being moved onto something else that might work for you!

I have had no side effects at all with Humira - not even a site reaction. For me, the difference has been amazing on both Enbrel and Humira, I’d say a 90% improvement.

I have had a lot less of whatever is going around in terms of colds, flus etc, than I had before biologics. I’ve also had a lot less of the infections I used to get as a consequence (eg sinus). I’m sure its not the same for everyone, but for me they seem to work such that they modify the out-of-balance parts of my immune system and make it work better. (I go to remote camps in Africa 4 or 5 times a year and have a 4yo who brings everything home from Kindy, so its not for lack of exposure, LOL).

But as you know they all have possible side effects, so as with all meds, read the documentation and make sure you are familiar just in case :slight_smile:

Morgan! How great that your doc is switching you. The biologics are very targeted medications, and as a rule they have fewer side effects than the other DMARDs. But you need to do your homework and read the literature.

The most common reaction is a site reaction – an itchy patch where you injected. Remember that these drugs also take several weeks or even months to do their work. Don’t expect anything dramatic, not in the first couple of months, anyway!

Whatever discomfort there is from the injection will be nothing compared to the pain you’ve had since coming down with this. Fighter will be fine!

I loved Humira. It was my wonder drug for several years, but I developed antibodies to it and it stopped being effective. I’m on Remicade now and it’s working really well for me now.

Get some help with your first couple of injections. The doc should set up a nurse to help you with the first one. If not, have one of your parents look up the Humira website. I believe they will send you a nurse for the first injection.
I will tell you a funny story. I am a nurse, and had never given myself injections, but had given hundreds maybe thousands over my career. I thought I would be fine with the injections, and I knew what I was doing, but I got myself so worked up over the first injection! I was worried about using the auto inject pen, worried that it would hurt, worried that I would hit the injector and somehow squirt the medicine on the floor (not possible, btw). The short version is that I made myself a basketcase. I finally decided to give myself the shot, and I did it in the locker room at work. That way if I passed out, someone would find me and know what to do (always plan ahead, right?) I was so dizzy from my needless freaking out that I thought I really would faint, but in the end, I was able to do it. Nothing bad happened. It hurt a little more than it should have because I was so worked up. I wish that my rheum hadn’t known I was a nurse and sent one to help me like everyone else!

The moral of the story is, don’t be like me. Don’t worry about the injection. It really isn’t that bad and when you compare it to this pain, it’s nothing. The needle is a small one, and it goes into fatty tissue that doesn’t have very many nerve endings so there is less feeling. Once you get past the typical anxiety of the first injection, the rest will be easy to do. When the med really starts working, you will begin to look forward to you injection days.

Good luck! I hope it’s your wonder drug too. :slight_smile:

Hi Fighter,

I started Humira a month ago. Yesterday was my third injection, this time at home completely unsupervised. It went fine, I felt hugely relieved because when I have blood taken, I can't even look normally. I have found so far I prefer the stomach to the leg, doesn't hurt and no site reaction at all. Very minor side effects to date, just a mild headache and that was only after the first injection. But best of all I've already seen some moderate improvement in my knees. Next I'm hoping it will reach my feet so I can get back to doing some walking, especially with spring coming.

Good luck

And for advice I’d echo Ali, I’ve never tried leg, but both the good people on this site and Rheumy said stomach - I find its fine. The rheumys rationale was that it is designed to be injected shallowly into fat tissue if possible - it releases a lot more slowly there so you are more likely to get a sustained response, rather than peak and trough (though ive never found this a problem with humira - it was noticeable with enbrel). I don’t have lots of fat on my leg, so he said stomach would be the best.

As Seenie says, doesn’t hurt at all in comparison to your current pain (strong sting for about 30 secs for most people). Take it out of the fridge for 15 - 30 mins before injecting and the sting will be minimized.

I really hope this makes a big change for you, but if not, remember there are many more, and stats say that if you don’t respond to one, you will find one you do respond to :slight_smile:

I loved Humira too. When it worked for me it was great. I recently switch to Cimzia. But while on humira I injected over a hundred times. No issue with infections or side effects. Stings a little but 10 seconds at most. After the first couple injections it became very routine. As others have mentioned, I looked forward to the injection because I knew it was working and I welcomed the relief. I had an issue once where my fridge malfunctioned and froze everything in it including my humira. I was a bit distraught. It occurred to me to called the humira 800 number. They shipped replacements at no cost. Good to know should you have a storage mishap at some point.

I hope it brings you much relief. Good luck!