Pain free way to inject Humira

I’ve mentioned in a previous post of my incurable skin condition, Hidradenitis Suppurativa. In December, my doctor and I came to a conclusion it was time to look at new treatments. I weighed a couple of different options but ultimately decided on Humira injections.

Now, let me say I’m pretty tough when it comes to pain. Shots don’t even make me blink. I’ve had six tattoos, and of course Hidradenitis has toughed me up as well. But let me tell you, nothing and I mean NOTHING can prepare you for the excruciating pain of a Humira pen injection.

I did two shots initially in my doctor’s office and instantly broke into tears. It takes ten seconds for the medicine to infiltrate your skin. The pain is nothing I have ever felt before or since. It is the ten most agonizing seconds of my entire life. With the click of the pen my anxiety shot through the roof as waves of pain rolled in. Not only does it burn but mixed in with the sting of the shot created a mini torture device in this pen.

It started taking me fifteen minutes just to psyche myself up to push the trigger button. My nervous thumb hovered over the button as flashbacks from two weeks before played over in my mind. But my sweet loving husband tried his best to be optimistic. “Once you do this, you won’t have to do it for another two weeks!”

Yes, but then I’d be here again. Shaking and crying before I even injected it.

I read all sorts of blogs about trying this or that. Leave it out in the fridge 30min before you inject the shot.

I was already injecting myself in the thigh. I couldn’t even imagine injecting myself in the stomach.

Ice the area, don’t ice the area.

But nothing helped.

Until this week.

I told my dermatologist of the trouble I’ve been having and her nurse offered to show me a new way. I was hesitant but willing to try anything for a bit of relief.

“Inject it in the stomach,” she said. “It’s actually less painful in the stomach.”

Interesting.

I did  as she instructed and I tensed up but the ten seconds were now seconds and not torturous centuries. She was a miracle worker.

I’ll share with you her tricks.

1) Pick a spot on your stomach. Preferably use the side you are most comfortable with. I am right handed so I used my right side.

2) Wipe the spot with alcohol as usual.

3) Grab a fatty spot of your stomach. Yes, the only and one time when a bit of tummy is a good thing!!

4) Inject yourself. Now here’s the key. While you are injecting yourself,  use your index finger and your middle finger to stroke the injection site on each side of the shot while the 10 seconds are going.

photo

Imagine the pencil is the pen.

The stroking will stimulate the nerve endings around the injection site distracting you from the mind numbing pain from the shot.

It was a huge difference for me. I went from a catastrophic ten pain level to a two. There was an initial tiny bit of pain before I used the new technique. But it felt more like a mosquito bite.

I’m going back to my doctor for the next shot to make sure I got the process down. And then I’ll be able to do it on my own.

Remember, pinch, shoot, and stroke.

And for you Hidradenitis Suppurativa peeps, Humira has been a wonder drug. I’ve been on it since the week before Christmas. And I went from having constant breakouts to being clear for almost two weeks. My dermatologist said it usually takes a lot longer than that to see results like mine.

I take it day by day.

I hope this post has given hope to those on Humira.

Please feel free to comment with any questions.

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37 Comments

  1. Pingback: Pain free way to inject Humira | Febe Moss

  2. Thank you for this tip. I will be trying it in a few minutes. I’ve always done them in my stomach and they are the most painful injection ever. The Dr. even gave me lidocaine to use, but I can’t tell that it helps at all. Hopefully your tip will make it a bit more tolerable.

  3. My nine year old son has been on Humira for two years for ulcerative colitis. Thank you for putting the shot in perspective for me.

    Every injection has been a 30-45 minute negotiation session for us. Recently our nurse recommended buzzy4shots.com. It was a game changer! Similar concept to what you are doing. My son did not even notice the injection until the end and then his comment was that it felt weird. No crying! He was carrying on a conversation with me while my husband injected him in the thigh. Just another option for those looking for relief!

  4. I’ve been on humira for 14 years, 10 years in the trial, I went off it for 2 months and got worse fast. ( I have chronic RA) any way it really expensive, I refuse to use the auto pen, to painful,try the regular syringes and inject really slow like 45-60 seconds this should help, good luck, Rick

  5. Thank you so, so much for sharing this technique! I have to do Humira every week (alongside methotrexate, which is fortunately not painful at all) and I dread the injection. You’re right: the pain is just indescribable and that ten seconds feels like ten years sometimes. I am definitely going to try the stroking method (I already do all the rest). I’m very grateful to you for sharing!

  6. Febe Moss you and I are one of the same ive HS and had years of pain surgeries exposed nerve in my wounds nurses out everyday 6 weeks a time doing dressings ive 6 tattoos an never had a problem with needles so I know Im a good pain bearer until today when I got my loading dose of humira. I have never in my life had a more painful experience cried my eyes out and the nurse looked at me like I had two heads until I looked it up tonight an came across this its good to know I wasnt imagining it or losing my mind. Now im dreading doing it next week but I know it has to be done so I will try your tip. Thanks

  7. There must be something wrong with me because I don’t feel any pain at all when I inject myself with the Humira pen regardless of where I use it. My thighs may be slightly more sensitive because they’re a bit muscular, but I still inject there because shooting my stomach creeps me out. I guess when you have a baby without the benefit of any drugs, you look at pain differently. It’s all relative, I guess. I do have one tattoo on the side of my neck and I actually started nodding off while getting it.

  8. You explained the pain and agony of the Humira injection to the tee for me!! It was a level 10 pain! I didn’t cry, but did tear up! It took me 20 minutes of trepidation and tears, but I did it! It didn’t hurt until afterward and that was nothing compared to my loading dose torture!! Thank you so much! Ammee

  9. I completely understand the trauma of having to inject Humira. I spent 10 years on Enbrel and never had a problem (unless I hit a blood vessel). Switched to Humira two months ago and started with the pen. My GOD. I could not believe the level of pain. The second time I did it in my thigh, and jumped out of my skin to the extent that the pen slid off the site and the drug went all down my leg. Not good.
    Ask my pharmacist to switch me to syringes… and thought I was going to pass out with the pain of that. It’s less of a shock than the pen, but the pain is still as bad.
    I’m gearing up to do my shot this evening. The only way I can face it is with a Martini next to me as a reward.

  10. I will be getting m first dose of Humara to start tomorow. Im scared to death! Im not good with pain at all! But im really hoping that it will help my severe RA. Im going to try it first in my tummy and finger rubs on the sides. Please God let this not be too bad!

  11. Today was my first humara shot with the pen. Let me just say I AM A BIG BABY. But i have read all of your comments to be more prepared. This is what i have done. First i numbed my belly with ice pack where i would inject for 5 minutes till it was numb squeezed the skin and watched for it in window to be empty(6 seconds). Put ice pack back on. Yes it feels like bee sting but only in the spot right where i injected. Not all over. YEA!!! Not bad at all!! Belly is great spot to inject. Ice pact works great! Trust me when i say this… it wasnt near as painful as i thought it would be. Thank you all who gave me the tips they worked.Oh also i took pen out of fridge and put in my bra for the 20 minutes to warm up ladies , at the 15 minute mark i put the ice pack on my belly. So by the time the pen is warm my belly is numb.

  12. I took my first Humira injection today. I did exactly as you stated and the pain was minimal. I couldn’t get the stroking in properly as I was injecting the meds but that might have been because I had a syringe instead of a pen. I improvised by keeping the pinching up and when I was done, then I stroke the area.

    You were right. It did feel like a mosquito bite. A Southern Louisiana mosquito just hatched after a rain but not terrible lol! Anyway, thanks for posting this information. It helped a lot!

  13. I had my first humira shot today. My first tip for everyone is not to read about how painful the shots are. After scrolling through many sites and dreading my first injection I found it to be nowhere near as bad as people say. Yes it hurts, much like a 10 second bee sting but it’s certainly bearable. Yes take the pen out of the fridge 30 mins prior, no question this helps. I shot myself in the stomach and it was ok. Y nurse told me the leg is painful so I’ll stay away from that option. She also suggested to inject after a shower when your body is relaxed. Anyway good luck to all who haven’t started their doses. It’s not as bad as you read!! 4 – 5/10 on the pain meter.

  14. I am so happy my husband found this post!!! My daughter, 15yrs, started on Humira at the beginning of Dec. we did one injection in the office, with the pen, then have done 3 more at home, with the pen. We have always done the injections in her thigh. The pain she is under is unbelievable!!! I didn’t know if I really believed her until I read your story and all of the comments. I feel TERRIBLE giving this to her. She is at the point of refusing to do it anymore. I am going to have her read your story and we will try the stomach the next time. She was petrified to do her stomach but I can see where the more fat would help the pain, rather than in a muscular thigh muscle.

    One question, do you continue to pinch the area while you are rubbing and doing the injection?

    Thank you again for all of the information and for putting the pain in perspective for me!

  15. I have been on humira for 2 years i am 17 right now, i have a bad pain tolerance cuz i haven had soo many needles in my life, had chrons disease since i was 5 been on anything possible also have ulcerative colitis so it really sucks, humira really does work good, better than anything in my life, my HUGE PROBLEM is that i have 2 fears bees, cuz im allergic thats only thing allergic to, and NEEDLES, ive had soo many in my life that it made my mind actually afraid of them soo whenever I see any needle even baby ones i get dizzy and nauseous and hate HATE the feeling i have anxiety to needles, honestly even with having needle pain and anxiety most needles didnt hurt except like one or 2 but humira actually hurts and i am not dramatic either even with my needle fear humira really does hurt my parents think im dramatic but honestly i really am not, i did the pen for about a year couldnt stand it so i started on the syringe still sucks but atleast you can controll it cuz somtimes id pull it out half way thru and itll go eveywhere and be wasted cuz it hurt soo much atleast syringe you control it. Also my mom shes a nurse but i can never let her do it lol, i fear needles.. But I actually have her do it when im asleep but i also have insomnia so I wake up right away and punch her and scream cuz it hurts so bad but i let her finish (well not really i try to rip it out but she practically done by the time i do) anyways most the time she does that cuz i cant mysefl and cant look away it makes it worse so i have her do my thigh while im sleeping but whenever i do it i am scared to do my stomach I just al scared i want to try it since my thigh is HELL and 50% the time i do it, so someone give me advice like i dont know what to do. I usualy gota ice my thigh for 30 mins while its out like 20 mins i dont know what to do when i do it I postpone it for a few days then when im finally being begged by my parents i go sit in bathroom for 30 mins crying saying i can do it when im acting like a child but honestly its the worst shot ive had in any shot ever, and i also had 4 surgeries soo yeah but ever since i started humira i been better than ever, do they have maller syringes? I do 40 mgs every 2 weeks i dont know what to do i want to try stomach bu tthen i get needle even a paper thin close i give up and cry, thek go to thigh and cry i dont know itd mostly the thick liquid that hurts the most. And by the way nothing at all makes me cry except that like litterly anyone have advice please please please give it thanks

  16. Ok I have some news for some people that may help. I have had 4 shots of humira and the best thing for it is a hot shower pre injection.
    The first two times I did it his method and the pain was mild, still hurt somewhat but mild! The third time I had it I was at work, as I didn’t have time at home that morning. I found this experience very painful indeed.
    My lessons are: inject straight after a hot shower, pen removed from fridge 45 mins prior, (warm up in your hands for last five minutes) always inject in the stomach close to belly button.

    Use the pen it’s quick and easy and no need for a cold pack. That’s a waste of time.
    I hope this helps some of you!! Luke

  17. Hi, hopefully someone will answer. I just recently got diagnosed with chrons disease. I’m a 17 year old girl and I am terrified of needles. Today was my 3rd dose of remicade and it was the first time I didn’t cry while getting in an IV! My doctor thinks that the remicade may not be working and that I’ll have to go to Humira and I’m terrified. I have a very low pain tolerance and I don’t know how I would find the self control to give myself an injection. My mom has to do injections too so I figured she could help but I’m going to college in a few months and I’m worried how I will do it while I’m there if I have to go on humira instead of remicade. Is the pain really terrible? The pain of shots and stuff doesn’t bother me that much, it’s just the mental part of it where I freak myself out. Also, I’ve lost a bunch of weight recently from being in the hospital, do you think it will hurt more if I’m skinny?

    • Hi Giana, I have a 13-year-old son who was diagnosed with chrons disease at the age of 10. He started with the Humira in the year 2015 in September when he was 12. He started with a low dose of 20 MG ever other Sunday, but unfortunately he had a flare up in February of 2016. The GI doctor recommend that he should increase the dosage to 20mg every Sunday. My son was very upset, we knew that he would had to endure the horrible pain of the shot 4 times a month. I wanted to let you know that I tried everything you can imagine to help make this process less painful. well I did! 😊. Two hours before his shot I give him a benadryl pill to calm his nerves, and then I put the “miracle ” cream, aka emla cream. it’s a numbing cream to numb the surface of the skin, since the shot is subcutaneous. It works best if you leave the cream for two hours. you would have to ask your doctor for a prescription for the cream. Good luck with everything, I know what it is like to have a child with chronic chrons disease. Best of luck!

  18. Love reading everyone’s posts. Had my first dose today at dr’s office. I’m tough, but I’ve got to confess – these shots hurt like hell. I’ve never had more than a pinch with any shot before today. This was a different beast! I had the first in one thigh, and was determined not to react. I then did the other thigh & immediately told the nurse to hold onto me becz I felt the heat wave and the loss of feeling in my limbs. I passed out with my slacks down! Woke up with the dr’s hovering. Embarrassing! Took me 30 minutes to regain normal motor skills & body temp. Dr thinks I passed out becz I had an empty stomach. I don’t know – I’ve never fainted before today. Nurse injected the last 2 shots in my tummy & the pain was significantly less. It’s been about 6 hours since then & im still feeling quite weird. I’m assuming I’ll wake up in the morning feeling normal – hopeful anyway.

  19. I gave myself my 1st humira shot tonight. It was with the syringe. It took about 30 seconds and I had minimal pain. I took it out of the refrigerator for 45 mins., injected the medicine slowly and had little pain. Hope this helps.

  20. I am SO thankful my husband found this post! He read it aloud to me and it was as if we were the same person! I just started taking Humira and the week of the injection I would get anxious just thinking about the pain from the medicine! So once we read this, I instantly said let’s try it! My husband injected me as I rubbed close to the injection site. As Gianna said, the pain went from a 10 to a 2! I can’t thank you enough for sharing this information!

  21. My son is fifteen yrs old he is on his ninth injection. He finds if I take the syringe out of the fridge one hour before time clean the injection sight pinch his upper thought insert needle and let go of the pinch and release the medication as slow as possible it makes it more tolerable for him. I have learned during his Misfortune of his health at this time that anything we do is going to be pain or discomfort. As for me as a parent it breaks my heart every time I have to give him this injection. Simply because he goes through pain and Agony and discomfort every single day of his life then I come in and have to cause him more pain or discomfort by giving him this injection. It seems to be helping him a great deal as of right now. I just hope that in the near future they could do something about the Humira solution the (medication) itself maybe changing the formula so it doesn’t burn as much. Hoping for the best.

  22. I take humira once every two weeks and I havent met anyone who also takes this so I never knew how it was for other people. Its comforting to know that I’m not just some big psycho cry baby who panics, bites a towel, or cries for each injection.
    The first time I took humira, a nurse came to my house to show me how to inject. That day i had to take 4 consecutive shots. I did as she said and did one right after the other. They didnt hurt too bad at all. Then I started to feel dizzy and hot. I went to lay down and as soon as i did I felt cold sweats and I went limp.
    I could hear the nurse asking if I was alright but I could hardly answer her. I simultaneously felt like vomiting, peeing, and soiling myself. It only took a few minutes and the feeling passed. I was able to get up again and I felt ok but i was shaken up. I had no clue what had just happened. I was concerned that the medicine did this to me and I didnt want that to happen again.
    The nurse who was very annoyed with me for my “episode” told me I had a panic attack and it was unrelated and that she would know because she was the nurse. They way she had acted with me made me feel like I was somehow over reacting so I’ve always felt a bit stupid now that I cant seem to get myself under control before each injection.
    Ive been taking it for over a year, every other week without fail and yet its always this big ordeal for me. I will definitely be trying your suggestion and maybe I will be able to relax a bit more knowing that it’s not just me, and that its definitely the medication! Thanks so much 🙂

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