Taking Humira Weekly: A Worsening of RA Symptoms

I’m not sure what’s been making my RA worse lately, but my joints are in a lot more pain and my bloodwork has gotten worse. So much to the point that my rheumatologist has said that at my next appointment if I’m still experiencing the same symptoms, he wants to put me on Humira weekly.

I currently take Humira bi-weekly and Plaquenil every day. While it has definitely helped alleviate my pain and the condition of my rheumatoid arthritis from where it was when I first diagnosed, I am a little upset about having to potentially take Humira every week. It made me wonder: Has anyone else experienced this situation? Are you currently taking Humira weekly?

Will weekly Humira impact my health?

I know that taking this medication will help me more, and if that’s what will help me feel better, I will agree to taking Humira weekly. But, part of my reticence lays in the physical toll it will have on my health.

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Normally, I have a reaction to Humira after doing an injection that feels like a hangover: feeling like someone’s stuffed cotton in my head, pounding headache, some congestion, and just a general feeling of not wanting to do anything (fatigue and malaise). It goes away after a day or two, but it’s still not pleasant to have your weekend taken away by Humira.

Having to experience this every week causes me some trouble because I tend to do a lot of my work that I couldn’t do in the week during the weekends that are not injection weekends. And taking Humira every week will increase my “Humira Hangovers”, as I saw someone call them recently.

The cost of weekly injections

Something else that scares me about taking Humira weekly is the financial burden that it would cost. Thankfully, I do have the Humira copay assistance program. But using my insurance more causes me some great hesitation, particularly since I have had troubles in the past getting insurance to pay for refills of Humira.

With taking Humira weekly, I don’t want to compound those problems and making getting a refill that much harder. Humira is, of course, very expensive — unjustly so.

Taking more of an immunosuppressant medication

The final part of my hesitation about taking Humira weekly is really about the medicine itself. Humira is obviously an immunosuppressant drug and taking more of the medicine — particularly during a pandemic like COVID-19 and a period where I am incredibly busy (which puts more stress on my already weakened immune system) — does not seem like the best course of action for me.

But then part of me thinks that I might be able to offset those feelings by improving the condition of my RA.

Humira weekly or a new biologic?

I’m in quite a quandary, and I’m not sure what I will do. I’ve been thinking about asking my rheumatologist about switching to a new biologic instead of taking Humira weekly. But, that seems unlikely to pass by my rheumatologist since Humira did and has worked for me.

What have been your experiences with Humira? Has your doctor recommended switching to weekly injections? Have you had to switch biologics?

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