A warning on the website reads: “HUMIRA is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker medicine that can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. You should not start taking HUMIRA if you have any kind of infection unless your doctor says it is okay. “
My doctor gave me the same warning when I started the medication; “Call me and stop taking your injections if you develop an infection or go on antibiotics.”
I’ve been on Humira for almost 3 years and have been fortunate enough to not have to ever miss a dose…until recently.
Right before I was due for a dose of Humira I was put on an antibiotic for a UTI (which I’m thinking I’m more susceptible to getting in the first place because of the biologic…). I knew, at a minimum, I would have to delay my injection.
I finished my 7-day prescription and still wasn’t feeling right. Another trip to the doctor revealed that the infection was still going strong, and I left with a 5-day prescription for more antibiotics.
Stress over missing my first Humira shot ever was running rampant throughout this entire ordeal. I was hoping everything would clear up and I could just take my shot a few days late. When I had to start the second round of antibiotics I decided I would have to skip the dose entirely. Hopefully I would be well and ready to pick it back up for my next regularly scheduled one.
[To add to the stress, this was all happening right as the coronavirus was starting to hard hit in the US…so I was also nervous about taking my biologic because, you know, compromised immune system.]
How much could missing one dose effect me? Surely I won’t even notice. I’d get back on track with the next one and everything would be normal.
I inject my medication every 2 weeks, so skipping one dose would mean 4 weeks between injections. By week number 3 I was FEELING IT.
My A.S. pain was coming back in my hips. My wrists and elbows were sore and swollen. I felt fatigued (more than my medicated normal), and my back was sore and spasming.
I had to back off of my normal activity levels and slip back to pre-Humira-Erin, constantly in fear of a full-blown flare. My heating pad and I rekindled our close relationship. My Fitbit was yelling at me for getting no steps and 0 active minutes per day.
Not only was my physical health impacted, but my mental health was too. Rather than rationally remembering that my body is confused because of the medication modifications, I was harsh with myself. I was so frustrated that I had to adjust my “regular” life. I found myself emotionally strained, and crying much more than normal. It was really hard finding peace and calm while my body dipped into places of pain that I haven’t felt in a long time.
Eventually injection day came, and I was so optimistic that getting my wonder-drug back into my system would instantly have me back to normal. In reality, it took 2 doses (over the course of 4 weeks) before my pain and inflammation started to subside.
Within a few days of taking my first back-on-schedule shot, my hip pain started to calm down. The back spams eased up a bit too, but I get those even when regularly on medication. I was still pretty fatigued, and my elbows were still fiery and swollen.
After my second back-on-schedule shot I felt my elbows calming back down, but I’m still easing back to “normal” activity. My fatigue is back to it’s normally medicated level, and I’m finally feeling good again.
Over the past few years there are times I have wondered how much I really needed my Humira- and now I have my answer. Missing just ONE DOSE threw me way off. This little blip definitely makes me appreciate how well my body responds to this medication so much more.