What it’s Like to Get Humira (For Me, Anyway)

Yesterday I had my first Humira treatment. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it all turned out fine.

The medication was shipped directly to my office, and when it arrived I hopped into a cab and went straight to my GI’s office, where a nurse had me watch a video about self-injections using the pen. It was very similar to the videos on their website.

Humira is one pen per month, but the first time you do it you have to do four, and then two more two weeks later. I was nervous, but the nurse insisted that I do it myself. She gave me the practice pen, which was great because for some reason, what freaked me out most was the loud click.

This is what the practice pen looks like with both caps removed.

 I was glad to have the nurse there to make sure I did all the steps right. First you look at the medication through the window to make sure it looks right. This turned out to be a pretty important step, because one of the pens did not look right and I ended up having to set it aside and use one of the extras instead. Next, you clean the area you’re injecting with the alcohol pad, which is included. You remove the grey cap, then the purple cap (they call it the plum cap.) Then you squeeze your skin, place the pen on it firmly, and press the plum button. It shoots the tiny needle into your skin and then the medication slowly goes in. You’re supposed to watch for a yellow bar to come down in the medication window, but I was doing this on my thighs, so it was a little hard to see. So the nurse said I should listen for a whoosh to make sure it’s done – and it’s true, you can hear a little whoosh. Then, you pull the pen away and put on a band-aid.

So, it hurt. It did. The needle didn’t really hurt, but the medicine stung. I had heard beforehand that you should leave it out to get to room temperature, but the nurse said she didn’t buy into that, so we did it straight from the cooler. Next time around I’m going to insist on letting it get to room temperature to see if it makes a difference.

In two weeks I go back to the same nurse for 2 more shots. After that, I’m doing it on my own!

Overall, I think it was a really good experience. I don’t have any bruising or redness on my legs, and I don’t feel bad in any other way. I really hope this medication works, and I’m looking forward to coming off the prednisone.


3 responses »

  1. I just came from the Dr and have been given three options for Crohn’s disease. I’ve had the disease since I was 5(45 years already) so I’m used to normal treatment.
    These three options of injectables frighten me. 1. Iam not a fan of needles. REALLY not good after all these years. #2) how painful is the injection? how big is the needle? Also did anyone weigh the side effects? Any concerns that I should know about?
    I have a week to make an informed decision. Not feeling very informed right now. So the options are an IV drip for 2hrs every week. Sounds to long and to painful. The Humira and Cimzia. Any idea which is better and less painful?

    • Hi Ellyn, thank you so much for your comment. I hope that I can help. I don’t know anything about Cimzia, but I can speak about my own experience with Humira. The needle that I opted for was the pen, which is similar to an epi pen. It has a very small short needle that you never see. Yes, it hurts. The pain is about the same as getting blood taken or having an IV inserted. After the injection, I had no pain in my thighs (even with a toddler jumping on them!) I know some people have some irritation afterward. There was a drop of blood from the injection site that went away pretty quickly but I did use a band aid. I’m going to try to film my next injection to show what it’s really like, but if you don’t want to wait for that, look at Humira’s website – myhumira.com – they have videos that show you a ton of information.

      I think if you hate needles but you still want to try Humira (and honestly, I think you should give it a try) – I think you should bring along with you someone who can give you the monthly shot, someone who makes you feel at ease. That way, you can get the shots but you won’t have to do it yourself, which I think is anxiety producing even in someone without an issue with needles. Ultimately it seems that so many of the good treatments for Crohn’s that are available are only available via injection or IV/infusion, so the needle may be somewhat unavoidable. Personally, having come from 3 years of Remicade, it’s kind of nice to just have the shot and then be done.

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