So there's a lot of anecdotal evidence about Humira out there on the Internet. And I suppose this is just going to be more of that. But I thought I'd document my experience as a first time Humira/biologic user so that other people with PsA who are facing going on a biologic for the first time can have the benefit of my experience.
But I should stress that it's just MY experience. Biologics are tricky. In fact, for 1 in 3 people, the first biologic they use won't work. This is just my own personal experience - for better or worse - with the drug.
Receiving a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis
First off a little about myself. I'm 51 years old and was first diagnosed with PsA and ankylosing spondylitis
four years ago. I suspect I've had PsA much longer as a lot of little issues I had in my mid-30s and early 40s make more sense now.
But my symptoms weren't severe enough for me to think anything of them until about four years ago when a bronchial infection triggered a case of costochondritis (sternum pain) that's never gone away. That's when I knew something was amiss.
The decision to try Humira
After four years of treating my PsA with NSAIDs
, my rheumatologist at the Cleveland Clinic recommended a three month trial of Humira. I had my first injection today. I know there's another post of mine on here called "Moment of Truth" where I was supposed to start my Humira 12 days ago but a few hours before the injection I got a work email telling me I'd need to be out of town for a week and a half.
Starting Humira and then immediately getting on a plane for Florida didn't seem like the greatest Idea so I waited until I got back.
Myths about Humira
Humira actually sends out an ambassador the first time you take the drug to answer any questions and help walk you through your first injection, which was pretty cool. The first myth I want to do away with is the sting of the injection myth. I read all sorts of horror stories online about how it was like a wasp sting and how people dreaded injection day
I felt so little pain (I use the pen) that I wasn't certain I even did it correctly. The mildest of mild stings. If you're been dealing with RA or PsA pain the injection is nothing by comparison. So my input from Day 1 is ... don't fear the injection. It's easy peasy lemon squeezy.
How quickly would Humira work?
As for what impact it will have on me and how quickly ... we'll see. My ambassador told me about one woman he visited who was in such pain from RA she could barely get out of bed in the morning.
She said the first night after the injection she had the best night's sleep of her life and got up the very next morning in no pain. I don't know that it'll work on me THAT fast (I've read 2 weeks to 3 months) but it would be nice.
Preparing for treatment side effects
I've read online that some people get a fever or headache
the first time they take it that passes in 2 to 3 days. So far I've had neither but it's only been a few hours since the injection.
I'll report back after a few days of having gone by or if something of significance happens. But as of right now ... so far, so good.