How to make Humira injections hurt less

November 18, 2010

Every two weeks, my lovely assistant David has to inject me with a medicine, Humira (Adalimumab), using a “pen” (euphemistic) thoroughly engineered for consumer use. It’s a grey and plum cylinder about six inches long and a half an inch in diameter; it feels chunky and comfortable to hold, kind of like on of those felt-tipped markers for toddlers.

I would use maroon instead of plum to describe the accent color, but the Humira people reference it consistently as “plum.” It makes me feel peculiar and sad that “plum” is almost certainly part of a complex corporate branding identity for this…tube of pain. But I digress.

Through my Adventures on Crohn’s Island I have formed a grudging familiarity with needles and poking. I’ve had enough IVs run into the inside of my right elbow that the vein there is near collapse and covered in scar tissue, and there is no end to the combinations of blood work one’s gamut of specialists can think to order up.

Thus it might seem like a no-brainer to switch from a full-on 4-hour-long IV drip every six weeks to a simple stab-n-go (at home, no less!) every two weeks. No more anxiety-wracking trips to the hospital’s chemo center.

I was, perhaps, a bit too blasé*.

The first dose of Humira is typically four shots at once, and is done at a doctor’s office. David and I had our four shots lined up in a row, ready, like soldiers, in an exam room in my gastroenterologist’s bleak basement office. Everything in there always looks to have a shade of weary yellow.

David steeled himself and gave me my first injection, in the side of my thigh. The needle in the Humira pens is, first, invisible—you never see it—and, second, teeny as needles go, narrow gauge and only 1/2 inch long. The stabber merely has to hold the thing in place and press the “Plum Activator Button” (eye roll). They give it that stupid name to distract you from the furiously loud spring-loaded clicking sound it makes and the searing pain—I’m getting ahead of myself.

The experience of my first injection was kind of laughable. Button press, click, oh, this is just like any other shot or blood test or whatever and now wait what is that sense of crescendo and now why does the feeling of pressure seem to be mounting oh me oh my the extreme searing pain! The pain! The OMG stop right now the pain! Then there is some sort of relativistic time dilation. In my universe entire civilizations were born and died. I know what it is to face the void. I’d been meditating beneath the Bodhi tree for 49 days and I’d long since sacrificed one eye to drink from the well of knowledge and had been hanging upside down from the tree of wisdom for eons—all within the 10 or 15 seconds it took for the pen to shove its gook in me, make a dismissive outgassing noise, and quit.

David stepped back and, kind of like a child that has just really stubbed a toe hard, I took a few seconds to get over the shock and decide whether I needed to start screaming at the top of my lungs. A sad little drip of blood ran down my leg.

There were three more shots left.

The sweet-hearted nurse, sensing perhaps the absence of the blood-curdling scream coupled with the fierce forced silence, stuck her head in the door. It was at this intensely embarrassing moment that I noticed that there were tears running down my face.

I’ll spare you the angsty details of the three additional shots. Each hurt as badly as the first. By the end of the four individual torture sessions, I was aghast at the idea that I’d have to do this again. Regularly.

There was clear incentive to work on making this less painful. And finally I get to the point: for those Humira-wary or Humira-pained humans out there, take succor in some recommendations that may, truly, make this experience better for you.

Things that have made my Humira injections hurt less

1. First, I am not a pathetic wimp. Nor are you.

This is not about being afraid of getting a shot. Sometimes, Humira feels far, far worse than a normal injection. The medication itself, often brutally cold (the pens are refigerated), does not get along well with one’s bodily tissues. The interaction of it and flesh causes an internal burning-stinging that is very distinctive.

Additionally, the liquid itself is pushed into you with a firm pressure. That pressure, coupled with the chemical sting, is, shall I say euphemistically, uncomfortable.

Even so, I thought I was just being a pathetic, delicate flower. Until I Googled it. There, in various forums, gaggles of patients with some sort of griefy relationship to Humira. Some have full-blown panic attacks before injections, recalling how much it hurt the last time. One woman has to scream into a towel (so as not to frighten her children). And dozens have had to jettison the drug altogether, citing pain as a leading factor.

So yes, Humira can hurt like the dickens.

2. Temperature

If there is one thing I can advise to do over all other things with your Humira pen: take it out of the fridge and let it warm up for 30-45 minutes. This single change probably accounts for 50% of the pain reduction I’ve been able to achieve. We’re talking night and day contrast here.

My gastroenterologist looked honestly surprised when I mentioned this to him (though I have seen much mention of it on the Internet). Perhaps it doesn’t work for everyone. But the effect is so marked that I would be doing the world a disservice not to suggest trying it.

3. Hydration, sobriety

Drink a lot of water on the day of your injection. But not booze.

At the peak of my Humira-pained world, I thought a bit of liquid courage might take the proverbial edge off. Doesn’t help at all for pain, in my experience, and alcohol is a blood thinner. Don’t do it.

4. Pressure

The other major advance we’ve made is thus: David, before injecting me, pinches a roll of flesh tightly between two fingers in the spot he’s about to jab. Tightly. Not enough to hurt, but enough to keep the flesh removed from its underlying bits and to sort of “overwhelm” the nerves with sensations of pressure. It’s like they’re too busy to fire off “hey, OMG, this hurts real bad” messages.

Also, stay away from the sides of the thighs; tons more nerves there. I’ve found that the best spot for injections—and I do believe this varies very much person-to-person—is the top of my very upper thigh. I have a tiny scar from an X-acto knife incident in my childhood that serves well as a general target area (disclaimer: You’re not supposed to inject into scar tissue).

5. Gentleness post-injection

Most of the time now, my injections are not too bad. But in the few minutes just after, I try to sit very still. The injection site is usually uncomfortable in a distinctive, strange way and any touching or pressure on it is somewhat unbearable. So I just sit there pantsless for 5-10 minutes, with a cotton ball resting lightly on the spot. Then I slap a small bandage on it and go about my business!

* What wonderful etymology: French, from past participle of blaser, to cloy, from French dialectal, to be chronically hung over.


  1. Amy Lawrence says:

    Wow! What a great description of what it really feels like! I have PSA and only had to do one the first time. I would have died doing 4! I would only add to practically freeze the leg to also help ease the pain. The only problem with this that I have found is that if you make your leg too cold (bright red from freezing), the blood vessels will contract leading to some of the humira coming back out along with the blood.

    GREAT post! I look forward to more.

    • Lyza Gardner says:

      I neglected to mention in my post: I found icing didn’t help me at all but I know it has been essential for other people, so one should at least try it! Glad it helps you so much!

  2. I was looking for ways to help relieve my anxiety and pain regarding my Humira shot when I found your post. I can relate completely to your experience with humira. I have such anxiety when I am getting the shot because it is so painful. I wish a Xanax prescription came with every pen so Humira patients could make it through it (LOL). Thank you for the post. I thought I was alone in my experience as the instructional video shows two woman injecting themselves in the stomach and leg as if it was nothing at all. I on the other hand am screaming bloody murder while in such great pain when doing the injection. I have found ice on the injection site before the shot and getting the pen to room temperature does help but not much. Thanks again for the post.

  3. Martha Bianco says:

    I was innocently looking up “How long can Humira go unrefrigerated?” after I accidentally took it out to warm up (always do that) and then forgot about it for 1.5 to 2 hours. And that’s when I came across this blog.

    I want to confirm from my own experience that the information provided here is 100% accurate. As I said, I have always tried to “warm up” the pen, but never for as long as I did today. I still need to confirm that 1.5 to 2 hours is acceptable, but let me tell you, it made A LOT of difference.

    The other thing I did, after reviewing the instructions I had since forgotten about, was to pinch my thigh skin up as high as I could. This isn’t an easy task, because the skin on one’s thight isn’t like the wiggly flab of one’s upper arms. I just pinch-and-grabbed what I could, lifting a wad of tissue up maybe a trivial half inch at most.

    And then I did the deed.

    As I said, the pain was much less marked for me this time around. In addition, while the injection area was still as sore as it always is (man, oh, man — you know it’s bad when it hurts even to put on a Band-Aid!), I had no blood at all! Unfortunately, that meant I had to poke around to find the injection site, because I did want that Band-Aid on it anyway. And, as you well know, regardless of how lightly you might be feeling around, you’re going to know when you’ve found the spot, because the skin and other tissue surrounding the site is throbbing exquisitely with an unusually sharp after-pain. But it seems to stop quickly. I don’t sit and rest with a cotton ball; I just slap on the Band-Aid, wince, and move on. The first time I did that, I tested the site maybe half an hour later, and, for ME, the pain had completely subsided.

    But everyone’s pain threshold is different, so while I do agree that the two most important variables for me — warming up the pen by letting it sit out for a bit at room temperature and pinching/grabbing up the skin — do help, other victims — er, patients — might need more or other assistance.

    I have been through chemotherapy (for cancer; I take Humira now for ankylosing spondylitis), and I did get to the point with that where I had to take Xanax the night before and then the day of because of anxiety. I do not experience that anxiety with the Humira, but I would definitely suggest that if you are suffering from major anxiety, enough to make you consider discontinuing the medication, you talk to your doctor about an additional prescription to help with the anxiety.

    Sadly, after 12 injections to date, I have not yet noticed much appreciable differernce in my AS, which I have had for many years before finally giving in to Humira. I would love to know if anyone reading this has AS and a positive outcome with Humira.

    Great site, by the way!

    • bryant says:

      Martha – Today I gave myself my 11th injection of Humira. It was only after number 8 that I started to feel any benefit. Give it a little more time. Up until that point I was really thinking that this stuff isnt going to work for me. I am feeling better as far as less pain since Ive been on it… but I still have pain. I’ll take whatever relief I can get though, even if it’s tiny steps in the right direction. Diagnosed with AS about 5 years ago, been suffering from it for about 17 (around time I was about 21).

  4. jimmy johnson says:

    I found that breathing into the whole in the side of the pen, where the medicine is kept helps a TON. The warmth of your breath almost heats up the medicine and makes the pain almost non-existant. There is still pain but barely any at all, and anything but unbearable.

  5. Elyse says:

    I have been taking Humira for my Crohn’s for approximately four years now (I started after I developed an allergy to Remicade). I feel your pain (literally) on the uncomfortableness of the injection, but have an additional suggestion that hasn’t been added yet.

    I don’t know if the pen and the syringe versions are identical or have different doses, but I use the syringe version. I actually think the syringe might be less painful to use than the pen because it’s about controlling the speed of the injection. For example, my first doses of Humira in office (via syringe) were VERY painful. The nurse administered them as quickly as any other injection and the combo of the cold medicine and the quick pressure was very painful. However, when I give the injection to myself now, I take my time pressing the plunger down on the syringe so it’s a very very slow stream of medication and I pause for a few seconds if I start to feel any sting/pain. It probably takes me a full minute to inject (so if you want to get in, get it done and get out this might not be a solution for you), but the pain isn’t bad at all. If I start speeding up and it hurts, i pause and wait a few seconds for it to distribute before pressing the plunger down again. I don’t know if this would help others, but you may want to speak to your doctor about the advantages of pen versus syringe Humira because my injections are nearly painless these days (and I do not have a high tolerance for pain or anything). I also let the syringe sit out for 30 mins or so to get closer to room temp. Hope this helps someone. Good luck!

    • Lyza Gardner says:

      Hi Elyse,

      This is a very interesting comment. My mother also self-injects medication (not Humira, but not to dissimilar either; she has MS). She swears by the syringe versus the pen as well. Given that the two biggest contributors for pain (my personal experience, anyway) are temperature and pressure, this sounds fairly compelling. I’ve managed to figure out the temperature issue, but the pressure (from the pen) still hurts. Thanks!

  6. Tami says:

    Like everyone else, I too experience the dread and pain of the Humira pen every two weeks. I am not a wuss by any means (I have had three knee surgeries from years of wear and tear in sports), but this pen kicks my butt. The first couple doses after the dreaded “4″ were murder. My anxiety would get so bad- I would be sweating, crying and having shortness of breath. Don’t get me wrong- IT STILL HURTS LIKE HELL! But here are somethings I did:
    1. Just like the article says- take it out of the fridge at least 20 minutes ahead of time
    2. My doctor gave me some numbing cream (although I think it’s just for my state of mind.
    3. This sounds weird, but take your finger nail and press it at the site where you will be injecting yourself- make an X pattern- it numbs the skin around the site.
    4. Then I ice it for the rest of the time.
    5. Lastly, before the shot- hold the damn thing up and say, “I am stronger than you and I won’t let you rule my life!” (it really helps!)

    After I give the injection, I always make sure to get up right away and walk around- giving the medicine room to burn it’s way around my thigh!

    Good luck to everyone who has to deal with this- we are stronger people because of it!

  7. maria says:

    I was diagnosed last year with RA. I’ve been through many meds in the past year with no results. I’m really hoping this helps as I have heard some good things.My first injection was last night. I’m a nurse and I tell you I was not prepared for the sudden gut wrenching pain I experienced with this.I stopped and waited for the pain to stop and then proceded very slowly and this realy helped alot. Next time I will take the syringe out of the fridge 30 to 40 min before giving the injection it would be like that as someone suggested but I’m not looking forward to this again. I give myself Methotrexate every Sat by injection with no issue at all so I figured no problem with this. OUCH!

  8. Amanda says:

    I’ve had RA for the last eight years (Diagnosed at age 14) and have been on Humira for maybe two years.. The last few times I’ve given my injection the pain has been unbearable and I pull the pen out too quick, losing most of my dosage. I failed to tell my doctor, which one should. Today after thinking I could take my shot without any problems, I let the pen sit for an hour to warm up. Usually I let it sit 30-45 minutes but today I thought a little extra time to warm up would be nice. It didn’t seem to help much, nor did using the other side of my stomach verse my typical right side injection. I wound up pulling out too soon and feeling like a failure to take a simple shot I’ve been taking for two years.

    I started to question what I should do being I need my dosage of Humira, so I looked into google. “Humira pen hurts” This article was the first I read and by the time I had read the last message I was crying because it was good to know I’m not the only one who cannot bare the pain. I’ve been given shots since I was a child for typical shots (Ie: Chickenpox), I’ve drawn blood for the last eight years of my life, I’ve been on an IV for six days, even took Methotrexate using a syringe a few years back before being introduced to Humira.. “Why can’t I take just another shot” is how I’ve been feeling so I’m glad I foumd this article today.

    As much as I wish we didn’t feel this stinging pain every two days, I’m glad there are others that can relate to my pain. I wish you all the bet of luck with your shots and your health.


    • Cheryl Welham says:

      Perhaps your doctor would allow you to switch to the prefilled syringes. It allows you to control the speed of injection which still hurts, but not as much. Hope this helps!

  9. Cheryl Welham says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for your advice. I’ve had RA for over 20 years and have used Humira for the last five years. I agree that the PEN is the worst torture device ever invented! I have used the prefilled syringes and they are MUCH better…all owed to the speed of injection I am guessing. Taking it out ahead of time is a HUGE help for either the prefilled or the PEN. Just switched insurances/pharmacies and they sent the PEN by mistake so for the next three months I get to play the I am stronger than the PEN game. The PEN is definitely mightier than the sword! (HA HA) Knowing that I am not alone in my loathing of the PEN is going to help tremendously! Thank you!

  10. CLAUDETTE says:

    “Can I inject humira in my buttocks? thanks, find the thigh very painful and am afraid to do it in my stomach, I guess I am asking this after the cow has left the barn because I gave myself the humira pen injection in my butt yesterday, thanks, Wilma”

  11. Kimberlee says:

    Thanx so much for all this info! DH & I employed all the mentioned methods and tips and his first shot was a breeze for him! Thank you so much again! (I was more worried for him than he was and he DOES have a higher pain threshhold than me, just FYI)

  12. Ellie says:

    Thank you all so much…its nice to know I am not a wuss…this stuff is evilly painful but I just remind myself what it has done for me and let it warm up a lot and holler really loud while injecting all because it makes me feel better about it.

    I have Psoritic Arthritis and it has mostly manifested in me looking like someone with OMG severe dandruff and quite a bit of hair loss and I also got it under my finger and to nails. The psoritic arthritis manifested very quickly and played across my hands for weeks…I got off a plane and my hands ached. I thought maybe it was just swelling from the trip. No it wasn’t after two miss diagnosis and a prescription for ibuprofen, needless to say I found a new primary after that. I told the guy I was suicidal it was hurting so bad and he gave me exactly what I had been taking it at home for the weeks before breaking down and going to see him, just a higher dose in 1 pill vs me having to take more pills at one time. You don’t let someone out of your office who says they are suicidal…and I really was…I was in so much pain for so long death just sounded so much easier.

    I found an amazing rhemetologist who prescribed me some NSAIDs that kept me from suicidal thoughts though very groggy til we could get the Humira approved by my insurance.

    I have been taking the Humira for about 7 or 8 months now. I have minimal pain and the fast progressing arthritis in my hands has halted, even gotten much better though I still have pain in some fingers when I pick up things and can’t bend them all properly. I also now have fingernail and toenail beds again…at one point I had almost no nail bed in most of my toes and fingers<and you have to keep your nail cut off to the little bit of nail bed you have or it gets pulled aggravating the psoriasis even more. So to have normal fingers and toes again is amazing…I am not ashamed to go out in public now with a half inch of dandruff on my shoulders and hands/nails people curl their lips at and was thinking about getting a pedicure to pamper myself.

    Anyway now that you know my life story….Yes Humira hurts like the dickens but I will take that 5 minutes of agony over the arthritis agony all day every day anytime…besides…its kinda fun to holler ;)

    Best to you all and I hope you find your shots as well worth the pain as I do.

  13. Laina says:

    Oh my goodness – thank you for this blog post! Your description of the pain involved with the Humira pen injection was so accurate that I was crying from laughter. I read it later to my husband and had tears of laughter rolling all over again, so much so that I almost couldn’t get the words out. I have given birth to four children – two naturally (one with 4th degree tearing) and two via c-section, and not without complications. I’ve had surgeries and more IV’s than I can remember. I get blood taken out of me all.the.time., I’ve had veins collapse, I’ve had numerous shots of various kinds, and the pain itself from my disease is beyond description. I’m no stranger to pain and I’m pretty tough, but man…the Humira pen HURTS! LOL! I tried to self-inject my thigh one time and I ended up spilling more than half of the meds because of the pain, oh, the pain! My husband now injects me instead, and I’m very thankful for that (the stuff is too expensive to spill!).

  14. Cydnie Langdon says:

    My first injection was at the Dr’s office with the pen, after that I knew I had to have the syringe. The pen is horrible, you push that button and it might as well be a BB from a gun.

    With the syringe I can control the speed at which I inject. My hubby and I were both worried about the first home injection, he had planned to give it to me, but chickened out and I ended up giving it to myself, and was tons better then the pen.

    I inject my belly, since you are looking for fatty area, also it is recommended in the packet that comes with it that you should not inject in the same location every time.

  15. Amy says:

    I agree with some of the other posters, the prefilled syringe is WAAAAAY better. I used the pen for quite a while and felt just like you. Even though it was helping me tremendously, I was about to give up until my doc suggested I try the syringe. No evil click, no fast shoving of the nightmarish venom into my leg. I still leave it out of the fridge for about an hour, which helps. I don’t feel the needle stick at all, and I can control how slowly I inject the medicine. If I do it slowly enough I do not feel any pain whatsoever. I have injected it just a little too fast at times and I get a quick burst of pain, but if I slow down and press the plunger bit by bit, ahhhhh ABSOLUTELY NO PAIN AT ALL!!! Just go sloooooow and relax. Good luck!

  16. Ingrid says:

    Out of all the information I came across I have to say this your post gave me many giggles and much insight. I am in a major flare up with Crohns. I’ve done Remicade in earlier flare up with no relief. I’m am very close to my second surgery and fighting it off like crazy. So my Doc suggested Humeria. Well today I picked up my starter kit of 4 injections to be taken all this evening. I was more than anxious to say the least but I followed your suggestions. I don’t know if I had built .myself up so much or what but the injections were not nearly as painful as I anticipated. Don’t get me wrong they hurt like hell. Some more than others. I bruised pretty bad on two of them and one leg took two injections really good to where the only memory is the bruise. My left leg is pretty sore after 4 hours. But otherwise in 2 weeks when my friend gives me the next 2 I won’t be dreading nearly as much as I did tonight. Thank you for y
    our help. It’s great to know someone else lives on Crohns Island. Off to bed now…got an early date with an iron infusion. Ya me but I suppose the best way to get through all this Crap is to except that if you’re hurting and can feel the pain it means your still alive. And dammit every breath I take is so beautiful I’m going to embrace it all. :)))))

  17. Theresa Tineo says:

    Hi Lyza,
    My 3 year old daughter will begin taking Humira next Friday to help control her JRA and so I googled ways to try to make it less painful. Tears are flowing as I write this to you as a result of knowing the pain she will feel. Thank you for blogging your methods of helping with the pain. I will definately leave it out for an hour before injecting as well as grabbing her thigh as described. Any other advice that you ever have, please continue posting. For me, any knowledge on what I can do to help my little lady is a pricelss gift.

  18. Paul Perkins says:

    I have taken Humira for over a year now, and while I agree that the pen is more uncomfortable than the syringe, I would not describe it as torture, extremely painful, or many of the other descriptions I’ve read here. If I could describe my lifelong fear of needles, it might surprise you (as it did me) to know that I prefer the syringe over the pen because of the control of all aspects of the process. My favorite method is to pinch up the skin approximately 3-4 inches above the knee (with the leg extended out straight to give the skin extra slack). I insert the needle about halfway up the “mountain” of skin at an angle nearly parallel to the leg bone (not down but sideways). This allows the medicine to go into the space created by the pinching and pulling of the skin. As someone else mentioned, I take my sweet time in pushing the med in, sometimes up to a minute. At such a slow rate, I barely feel it go in at all. And yes, warming the syringe by holding it in your closed fist for about 5 minutes helps a lot. I’ve worked on developing this procedure by trial and error, through injecting at different sites, using different angles of approach for the needle, and different pinching methods. Honestly, this method works for me like no other one has. I’ve had my wife take my blood pressure right before injecting it and my bp didn’t rise at all-that’s how painless this is. My advice is to stop using the pen and take control of the process yourself; you’ll be glad you did.

  19. Tonya says:

    Your advice is much of what I have found to be true. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and use Humira every other week. I hate it because it burns severly. I have always been afraid that people thought I was a wuss. You know, the people who are very healthy and say, “It’s just a shot, toughen up!” I cheered when I read that my fellow injectors were suffering, too. LOL I leave my shot out at least 30 minutes and sometimes longer becuase temperature does help. I also take a hot shower beforehand and try to warm my body. I think it dilates the blood vessels and lets the meds flow faster. And lastly, I use the inside of my thigh (fatty part) rather than the top. The stinging is still there, but I can bite my lip and bear it. Otherwise, I end up hollering out. Hope this helps.

  20. Joy Lee says:

    I found this page tonight after my Humira pen injection. I typed in “how to make Humira injections less painful” I was directed here. I can relate to everything you said! Made me smile and laugh.Thank you for that!

    In my experience with gut injections the right side has always been less painful. The left side seems to always be a rebel and burns like hell. Because I tend to do the shot in the same spot every 2 weeks, I did the left side tonight to even out the universe. That resulted with me yelping out “I’m melting – melting!” I can now imagine what the wicked witch felt when water was thrown on her. Also – I called the pen a very vulgar name. My man(the stabber) stopped and asked me “Did you just call me a ?”

    I did share this link with him so he understands a lil more of what the injections feel like. <3

  21. Sara says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I only taken humira twice now but I thought I was going to die with the pain. My husband is a doctor and kept telling me I was too sensitive as all his patients says the injection is fine. (I think some must be fabricating the truth!!!). This article has given me great comfort in the fact that this pain is not in my head and I’m so appreciative for the tips. Now I want to stick him with the pen and see how he likes it!!!!!! Thank you very much.

  22. Moe says:

    I have been using Humira for at least 6 months. It took two months of self injecting with the syringe when i finally felt some ease on my pain. I take it for moderate-severe RA. In the beginning i thought like everything else it wasn’t going to help but then i started to feel better. for 3 months after i felt just wonderful. Now i’m beginning to feel pain again and the dr feels he may up the dose to every wk. I get different side affects, sometimes bad headaches, sometimes dizziness after injecting, other times tired for two days after injecting. The best way i found helps to inject is slowly and when it starts stinging take a second stop and then continue administrating the dose. I always inject in the belly area, i think the thigh would hurt more. Only once i had a bruised area in the injection site. And i find if u hold it sideways not straight it also hurts less. I guess pain from injection the medication vs the pain i have to endure everyday if i don’t wins out!!! People with RA are never “pain free” but Humira does help. Other problem, i have had a sinus infection, bronchitis as well. In this times i wonder if its all worth it…… but when i am able to walk and stand a little more than i usually can because the pain is “a bit under control” well at that moment, makes me feel “almost normal again”. :o)

  23. Karen Palmer says:

    Thank goodness I am NOT alone. I have been on Humira for a year. Everything that everyone has said about the Humira pen has been spot on! I scream in a towel, and like others, cannot even put on a band-aid right away. It takes 10 min. of sitting still before I get over the trauma. I have AS (ankylosing spodylitis) and it took 3 months for me to see improvement, and the shot lasts about 11-12 days before some of the symptoms return to remind me that I am due for another injection. I have tried the icing and warming the pen in my waistband for 20 min, and quite frankly, I don’t think it makes a difference. I thought I read somewhere that Humira could not be out more than 30 min, so I am not sure if the 2 hr warm up time is okay. I would be ever so grateful if Abbott Labs could take the sting out of this injection. I know I need it, but the trauma and drama every 2 weeks is a bit much. Like some of you too, I have had to have my husband give me the injection, because, in the beginning, after only 4 shots, I reached a point where I could not even push the plunger, even though I know the drug is working. Tomorrow is injection day, and I am dreading it already.

  24. Vanessa McMullin says:

    I am so happy this is out here. I am injecting weekly and it gets harder each time. My last 2 into my stomach weren’t too bad but tonight’s is still stinging 15 minutes later…which brought me to this website. This doesn’t happen all of the time, and I don’t know how to explain it exactly, but when I pinch my skin to do the injection, I can feel the liquid from the pen squeeze into me with the hand that I am using to do the pinching. A sensation that always freaks me out and makes me feel like I didn’t get the medicine in correctly…and I typically bruise when this happens. Anyone else experience this?

  25. Granville says:

    I take Humira for my Crohn’s disease and the injections feel like a really prolonged bee sting. I had four injections the first time round and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. The injections were cold and I was still very sick. Now I grip the injection in my hand for about two minutes to warm it up and I make sure that my body is not too cold before the injection. Those two things really help the pain. I have also discovered that the area in which you give the injection makes a huge difference. I am sure as mentioned above that giving the injection super slowly almost eliminates the pain but I cant have stuff sticking in me for too long.its cool that something like this forum exists!

  26. Natalie says:

    Thank goodness I found your blog! My 7 year old son has just spent the last 2 hours crying and screaming refusing to even allow the Humira pen anywhere near him and we are all emotionally and physically exhausted from it. He has SAPHO syndrome and is due for his second Humira injection today and he is completely terrified by it. What concerned me was knowing he has been through so many other medical procedures and has an extremely high pain threshold yet the Humira injection completely terrifies him. It was very supportive to read everyones comments here and to know his reaction is real and valid. We need to find a way to help him cope with these fortnightly injections and all of the suggestion on here are going to be so much help for him. It gives us a little hope we can maybe find a way forward. I was also wondering if people have thought about the effects of stress from worrying about having the injection and the impact that has on the condition the Humira is supposed to be treating? Thanks again for your wonderful blog!!

    • joanna says:

      oh natalie, your son’s fear is very valid. i am 23 and after my loading dose, don’t think i can even take my next shots. the pain was just excruciating. did you ever figure out a way for your son to have less pain?

  27. Larissa says:

    I have taken Humira for around 3 years, and I’ve despised every single injection. I’ve developed a slight phobia of sorts to the sound of the injection “click” (more like a gun shot) so that I either have to have the TV blaring, the bathroom fan on, or the faucet running when I’m about to inject. I often psych myself out–I’ll hold the pen up to my stomach and get ready to inject, then pull away because I can’t bring myself to do it. This happens multiple times as I get continually more anxious about the fact that I have to stab myself, as well as the fact that I’m wasting water because the faucet is still running. It’s torture.

    I also leave my pen out of the fridge for about 45 minutes before I inject. The only other tactic I’ve discovered that sometimes–and ONLY sometimes–seems to lessen the pain a bit is to exhale forcefully as soon as you inject. It’s hard to do when the pain makes you gasp/scream/wail. But it seemed to help a couple of times.

  28. Erin says:

    Hi I’ve been taking humira for about a year now, I started out with embrel 2 years ago. I’m only 18 and have to take it because I have psorisis and the arthritis associated with it. And I will be taking the medicine for the rest of my life. But anyways I have probably the worst needle phobias ever, I can give other people shots but can’t deal with getting them myself. So my mom Gives them to me in the back of my hip like right above my pants and butt. This has always been the least painful for me because 1 I can’t see it and 2 there’s not many nerves there because its just fat. The second one came from my mom since she’s a nurse. I also let it sit out till its about room temp and it helps a lot. :)

  29. Vanessa McMullin says:

    Just tried my first “heated” injection…I left it on a heating pad for a few minutes. It was SO MUCH BETTER. Still stung, but I’ll take it. Does anyone feel really tired for a couple of days after their injection?

  30. Bruce F says:

    Glad I found this site. I was on Enbrel for plaque psoriasis for three years and it eventually stopped working, which is why I switched to Humira. Enbrel pen injections were nothing, a pinch and done. I expected the same for Humira, and hey! Only every two weeks, not every week like Enbrel.

    Then I gave myself the first pen injection and was WTF????? I’ve been hit repeatedly with a baseball bat and that was nothing compared to this Torquemada-like torture.I figured it was just a sensitive day, but over the year I’ve been on Humira, I’ve dreaded every other Friday. The only shot I ever got that even was close to this was some phenergan I was given after surgery, and that hurt because it was thick liquid.

    It controls my psoriasis very nicely, but whatever is in this stuff is really painful.

  31. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for your help! Your ideas made tonight’s injection so much less painful!

  32. M Corbett says:

    I am not alone!!!!! Thank you everybody!!!!!! I have just had my sixth injection (pen) this evening. I promised myself this time I wouldn’t push my boyfriend away (he administer the humira), wouldn’t scream anxious expletives or bite my pillow with clenched teeth while screaming. I didn’t even put on an episode of Sex and the City to distract me. I was convinced I could handle it. However I did push my boyfriend away and I did scream in writhing pain. Number 4 is the moment of torture BUT(!!!!) this is the first time in my life since 18 (now 36) thY I have been free of pain from Ankylosing Spondylitis. I am grateful for this opportunity. I am also doing Bikram Yoga which has also changed my life. I recommend Bikram Yoga to everyone. If u can do humira, you can do Bikram. Best wishes, Mary

  33. lauren says:

    Hello and thank you so much for posting this info! I just started Humira, with my first injections at the hospital two weeks ago. I only had 2 syringes, thank goodness. After the first shot I had to lay down and the nurse got me apple juice to drink- I had no idea how bad it was gonna hurt. I’ve been dealing with my Crohn’s for 20 years and still was not ready for that pain. I left the hospital thinking that I might just have to switch back to Remicade-to being stuck in the hospital for hours with an IV every two months. Today is my second dose, at home, but now I am armed with the knowledge that it does hurt and that other people live thru it and honestly it- is nothing compared to the pain of Crohn’s and that I can do it!

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  34. Lise says:

    Hi. What a great post, thank you.
    I had my 4th humira injection (pen) today for my PsA (diagnosed 2 years ago) and was feeling such a baby for my near-panic attack prior to having the injection, so decided to look online. Sorry to share the pain, but I’m so glad to find that others feel the same – I thought I was just being really pathetic!
    I’d lifted the pen out of the fridge about an hour earlier, but it’s just so damned painful. I see that someone says the syringes are better, but I also read elsewhere that it just makes the pain last longer. I am torn about what to do – I’m all for reducing the pain, but I don’t want to run the risk of just prolonging it!
    I am very impressed with those of you who managed to endure 4 – I only had to do 1. I know I wouldn’t have managed any more!
    Good luck to everyone.

  35. Susan says:

    I had to switch from Remicade to Humira because my body suddenly decided it didn’t like the Remi anymore & I learned to spell anaphylaxsis. Too bad, it was working so well for me (for RA) and I had even been able to get off methotrexate & pred completely. They started me on those Humira pens and I hated them & think they hurt more, someone hit it on the head talking about a sense of pressure. I switched to the syringes and that is easier for me and I feel more “in control”. I do let it warm up about 30 minutes as that’s what the Dr told me to do- let it come to room temp. I did find icing the site until it is cold enough I can’t really feel it when I lightly touch helps a lot. I pinch on top of thigh, stab, aspirate then count to 15 as I slowly put it in. When done I put the cotton ball on & then the ice pack for a couple minutes and I am good to go. I also think part of it is mental, now that I am used to it, it’s not such a big deal & not so uncomfortable. Just thinking about how it is a small price to pay to get/stay better helps too. Unfortunately the Humira alone is not working for me as well as Remicade was & I have had to start back on methotrexate. I just can’t tolerate the oral MTX and, after another ER visit, I am switching to the injectible, which is apparently very hard to get right now. I think that’ll be a piece of cake compared to injecting Humira! At least for me, I like giving myself injections at home a lot better than going for infusions.

  36. kristin says:

    i have to say i was laughing hysterically when i read this. i know it’s not a humorous topic, but the descriptions were spot on. i remember my first injection at the doctor’s office… the nurse said “you may experience a little discomfort.” i’m not shy to pain and tolerate it very well so i figured i would be fine. i’m not scared of needles either. when i heard the “pop” i thought “well, this isn’t so bad” then all of a sudden i turned to the nurse and calmly said “yes, my leg is on fire. is that what you were referring to???” simply stated, no one prepared me for the venom that would burn through my leg. i describe it as the strangest, most debilitating feeling i have ever experienced, but it comes with mixed emotions.

    i have a love-hate relationship with humira, but i’ll take the pain and then some to have my life back. as a lifelong athlete, the onset of auto-immune arthritis (or sero-negative RA) was a complete death sentence. i suffered terribly through tests and medications that never provided any answers or relief. shortly after starting humira i was able to run again and weeks later finished a half marathon. i’d run many before and have run a few since then, but that was the day i got my life back.

    each time i dread stabbing myself with the caustic goo i remind myself of the alternative, proceed, and am amazed by how ridiculously painful this little thing can be. somehow, it surprises me each time as though i didn’t believe it the other countless times, but i still have a laugh at it… as the moments do, in fact, feel like a lifetime.

  37. Kimberlee Whitaker says:

    Well, I wrote in this past July to thank everyone, but an update is called for.
    By Mid-Nov., his doctor did his “bending”test, (whatever that measures) and determined that the Humira was no longer doing any good. Didn’t think the methotrexate was doing any good any more either. So took him off everything except 3X daily of 50mg Indomethacin, which does absolutely nothing for the psoriasitic patches. So went back to Primary Care phys. and asked to be put back on the metho- back in Dec. We’re going to give it one more month and if the patches don’t start to subside, we’re quitting.
    Might quit the Indo- also since it prevents him from being able to use a tanning bed which helped somewhat before he first went to an internist for all this.
    My poor baby; his poor legs & elbows. He’s only 48 and hasn’t been able to wear his wedding ring for 3 yrs. now due to the swelling. His hands are the same length as mine (women’s size 8), but his ring size is close to 16!!
    What I Did do that the internist absolutely told me was A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME & $$ (Har,Har) but Sam tells me he actually has gotten better from it is a LARGE amount of Glucosamine Chondroitin. The basic 1500/1200 mix, but since my husband is 5’10″ and 250lbs., I started him on 2ea., 3X/daily. After 6 weeks, I’ve dropped it to 2X/daily of 2 horse-pills. It’s a lot, but I remember when I first started it; everyone says it’s too much, but if you want it to ((*Work*)), you just have to. It seems your body expels much of it and it takes 4-6 weeks to saturate yourself. But the results are always SO worth it in every experience I’ve had.
    As I understand it, it pushes your body to reproduce cells faster in the liquid part of our joints again, like when we’re younger. As we age, those cells slow down in that respect.
    I also guess that I’m going to start to look for studies in the area that might help him. We’re at the end of our rope. We tried 8 different diet modifications, all kinds of topicals, natural, compounded and prescribed. Getting pretty desperate.
    I hate the idea of him spending the summer in long pants & shirtsleeves because he’s so embarrassed. Breaks my heart for him!
    I’ll listen to anyone’s anecdotes at this point! If anyone knows of a study in the IA/IL area, please let me know here.
    Thank you all, this is a really good community.

  38. Naomi says:

    I’ve been on Humira for Crohn’s disease since last January (after trying pentasa, entocort and 6-mp). I had my first dose of four in the US with one pen misfiring, then left a week later for a 6 month study abroad program through my university. I had a major flare up a month after leaving and ended up coming back the US for surgery. I stopped taking Humira while recovering from surgery but started a month later when I left the US again.

    When I came home after the program my voice mail was full of calls from the nursing service that taught me how to self-administer the Humira. They just kept on calling and calling to make sure I was comfortable and alright with the injection, which totally wigged me out. The way I read that was they’re so worried so something must be wrong. Now all of you know how crappy the shots are, but I was getting to a point where I had a routine that worked for me. But after that phone conversation the next three or four injections were a nightmare. I’d misfire then have a panic attack or I’d have a major panic attack and misfire. At the very best I’d get the medication but still have a panic attack.

    Then I started getting them injected by a nurse, which saved me so much trauma and anxiety. They hurt more when the nurse did them but it was psychologically easier. After a few doses being done by a nurse I decided I had to get over it and do it myself. This is my life, my disease and I wanted to be in control.

    It’s taken a while, lots of crying, and more phone calls to my parents than I can count, but now I do them on my own. I need a controlled environment, meaning I turn my phone ringer off, I make sure my roommate knows and doesn’t disturb me, and I’m calm. I found calling my mom really helped, but we’d have to set up when we were both free and having a set time produced anxiety for me. Now I think a few days in advance when I’ll have free time and give myself a 1-3 day window for the injection. If I’m not comfortable I put the Humira back in the fridge and try again later or the next day.

    While the pain sucks, I find the hardest part to be the emotional and psychological ramifications. The notion of injection yourself every other week with a medication you’re on forever for a chronic condition is not “natural”. I’ve found the more I react, the more it hurts and the harder it is to do. Crohn’s is enough to deal with, Humira is just a medication I need to stay healthy, and I will not let it ruin my life or give my anxiety.

    • Jennifer says:

      OMG!! I feel teh same way. I am an emotional mess knowing I have to do thas for the rest of my life. Not knowing what the meds will do to my body in the years to come. I was diagnosed with UC back in 2005. Was in remission for years and then had super bad pain and the other stuff a few months ago. Well 2 colonoscopies later the doctor said I had Crohns. This was May 4th. May 9 docotro said I would be on Humira. I have been crying everyday since. My first 4 shots come in to day. This got messed up with insurance and kept pushing everythingn back. No I have to wait for the nurse to call to set up the time to show me what to do since the doctor never called. The waiting game is really getting to me. I shake uncontrolably now. I just keep worring about what this medicine is goign to do to me. I fear cancer so much. I teach so I am around students who come to school sick and am affraid of getting sick all the time and missing work and being docked pay because of it since I olnly get 5 days off a year.

  39. Bonita says:

    I have always given my injections into my belly with a small amount of pain but it made me bloat and bruise and now i have been having very large red welts. My doctor told me to double my allergy meds on the day of the injections and it seems to work .
    I find if you let the alcohol dry from the wipe it stings less. today i left the pen out for 30 min and tried my leg the top of my thigh OMG big mistake i was not sure i could stand to leave it tin there but i bit the bullet.
    i wish i could find a spot other than my belly that did not hurt so much ,has anyone tried the butt? I think i will get my husband to put it in my rump to see if it is any better at least i won’t see it coming lol

  40. Bonita says:

    ok so 2 days later i still have a 2 inch round welt and the top of my leg is swollen no more leg injections but i really think my body is showing signs of allergy to this med,doc says 1 in 10 that would be me :(

    • k says:

      when i first started humira i would get a swollen, red welt on my leg where i gave myself the injection. i then started rubbing hydrocortisone cream at the injection site and surrounding area and the effect has been dramatic – no more redness, no more swollen, hot patch for a few days. it’s worth a try…

  41. Shelley says:

    I have been injecting with Enbrel and Humira for a year and a half for moderate RA. Then I started IVF and had to inject myself with two to four syringes each night for weeks at a time. I also had huge welts on my legs from doing the injections there. The following worked for me:

    For me, the belly is a significantly less painful place to do the injection. I am not a chubby person, but, like most people, I have a nice roll of fat there. There don’t seem to be as many nerve endings in that location, and you can see it better when you are doing the injection. Also, when I injected in my upper thigh, I had huge 8-inch-wide stinging welts, but the reaction is less painful and only about the size of a quarter when I inject on my belly.

    Definitely don’t use it when it’s cold. Yikes! My rheumy said these biologics can sit out for a while (24 hours is no problem), but they don’t want to tell people that because they might get too relaxed about refrigerating the meds. If you are freaking out about having the drug sitting out for an hour or two, you don’t need to worry.

    The pre-filled syringes are ten times more comfortable than the injector pen, which I agree feels like a BB gun. I’m not sure why there’s such a difference. Either the syringes have finer needles, or just don’t hurt because you can control the speed of the entry of the needle. People don’t want to use the syringes because you can SEE the needle, but, trust me, once you get over that, 9 out of 10 syringe needle sticks are completely pain-free. You can also inject the drug slowly with virtually NO PAIN. My heart aches for the little 3-year-old who needs to get the injections. Mom, please get the syringe for her!

    – ICE
    I don’t really see a need for it with the Humira or Enbrel, but when I had to get progesterone in oil with a 1 1/2-inch needle in my behind during IVF (which was much worse than Enbrel), the ice worked. It only works if you really numb the area for a good 5-6 minutes with the direct application of ice. It doesn’t make much difference if you just rub a little ice cube on the area for 30 seconds. To me, that just slows down the process and adds too many steps.

    Pinch the injection area hard, and continue to do so during the entire injection. This really does distract the nerves from the pain of the injection.

    Good luck!

    • Rebecca says:

      I completely agree with you on the syringes. If anyone is able to opt for that, I would try it. My doctor and insurance (thankfully) gave me the choice and sent me a video of a woman demonstrating her pen. I decided I couldn’t handle the pens (having experienced Epipens as a child, it was unacceptable). The syringe doesn’t leave you with the welts and – at least for me – I don’t feel the needle going. The medication stills stings something fierce and hurts going in, but you’re left without that needle slamming into you.

  42. Regina says:

    I have RA and I’ve been using Enbrel for the past few years and my doctor switched me to Humira. I’ll take my first injection today, so I did a search on how to inject Humira. Your blog post is great and I’ll be implementing these ideas when I inject tonight. Then Enbrel I used to take was also refrigerated & I’ve always let it warm up to room temp before injecting. I’m surprised that no doctors ever mentioned that to patients. Thanks again for a great post.

  43. Lina says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I screamed terrible cusswords so loud that the dog ran and hid.
    Has anyone tried novacain on the shot area before administering? If it helps with tattooing it may help with Humira. I’m trying it before my shot tomorrow, with the rest of your tips.

  44. Sharon says:

    Great, great, great articles! I use the pen and know the pain of it…been on it for three years (had two surgeries)..Crohn’s is in remission so the pain is worth it! To avoid anxiety regarding the pain,I swab and immediately inject..I don’t want go through any routines as that increases my anxiety..

    I wish each and everyone of you the very best…

    Love all your sense of humors!! Looking forward to checking back.

  45. Joanne says:

    My 16 yo old son has been getting Humira pen injections since Oct 2011. So painful for him every time. Just met with a RA pediatric doctor at University of Michigan. She prescribed 2 ml Lidocaine mixed with the 8ml Humira (you transfer the Humira to the Lidocaine syringe you fill). WOW. NO pain now for him. Takes it in the stomach now instead of the thigh.

  46. Silvia says:

    I am due for my shot tomorrow and I’m feeling major anxiety- I found this and just to know that I am not alone makes me feel somewhat better. No one gets it. Especially for those watching the brave souls inject themselves on You Tube. I still can’t believe they truly are using the real stuff. sigh…thanks again for this!! :-)

  47. Bunny says:

    I’m taking Humira, and yes it does hurt! Today is shot day, and I decided to search for the best place to inject. I came across your blog. Thank you for your wonderful, colorful description of how it feels. I thought I was just being a big baby, but you hit the nail on the head. It really hurts. Thanks for making me laugh out loud!!!! At least the Humira is helping my arthritis!!!!!

  48. Sam Ferrins says:

    I have RA, which I’ve been taking Enbrel for for the last 8 years. Then I move, and the doctor decides that its time to try something new. Apparently this new treatment is based on compacting all the pain of lack of movement into 5 minutes every two weeks, by some form of voodoo mostly involving plums, an industrial size spring and a complete missuse of the word “pen” (plums?? REALLY??).

    Long story short, I’ve been on this for the last 16 weeks, which is 8 shots for me, and I’ve yet to find a way of stopping the pain. However, I did make an interesting discovery about those interesting devices that are used the rest of the time for in making holes in very tough things…. like buildings and tectonic plates…. armour….

    The laughably described “Pen” can be taken apart to reveal an inner needley device, your delightfully agonizing medication, and a spring that (as I found out) has the power to propel bits of medical equipment across the room with enough force to put a dent in the plaster… (Who thought that was the right size spring?? Had they run out of Truck suspension springs in the store that day??)


    For those who are stuck with the pens, or are in the process of getting them changed over but are still stuck with leftovers-
    -There are two tabs on either side of the pen that hold the top and bottom together with some small plastic clips.
    -If these are removed (Stanley knife worked well, but please dont loose your finger tips) then the top and bottom are separable (the spring is kept in place, at least in my pens, even if taken apart)
    -Once the top and bottom are separate, the needle can be used more or less as standard.
    -The leftover pieces will still fire a very large spring, and assorted medical waste, across the room at the press of the plum coloured button, so please be careful with it!

    I hope that this is of some help to someone else out there, because while I havn’t yet found a way to make it Not painful, not being hit in the leg by a close range projectile made it a fair bit better!


    (needless to say- I am not liable for people taking things apart and possibly hurting themselves, others, or kittns with the leftovers.)

    • Amy says:

      Sam-I have to first THANK YOU for your post!!! Moving down all the other post on here I started thinking that my Pen (HAHAHA what a joke) was the source of all my problems…but I had one shot that I had to take tonight and with it being Thursday night there was no way that my pharmacy could get me a syringe delivered tomorrow. I just dreaded the thought of jacking my thigh up with the stick-o-pain again without knowing that there could be a better way and OMG there is!!!!

      I carefully took my last stick-o-death apart by pushing in the two tabs under the sticker down and then wrapped it in a kitchen towel and gently wiggled the two pieces apart pulled the syringe out and used it just as a normal syringe. I left it out about 30-45 min and then injected the Humira slowly….very slowly and what do ya know NO BURNING!!!!!

      Calling tomorrow and moving to the syringe from now on!!!!!

  49. Rebecca says:

    Thank you so, so much! I’ve only recently started Humira injections and this blog, along with everyone’s responses, has made me feel so much better. I opted to go with the needles, not the pen (the pen feels so violent to me). The needle going in doesn’t hurt at ALL, I don’t feel it, but the medication itself is agony! I am actually taking this drug to try to control a rare severe form of chronic idiopathic posterior uveitis, so I try to remind myself that 5 minutes of agony is much less traumatic than blindness, but I still whine and cry like a 5 year old. Thank you for sharing your experience. It helps!

  50. mdw1978 says:

    I took my first injection a few days ago. I did it in my stomach. I went threw so much crap to get my insurance to pay for it, and when I did I was so excited at the thought of finally getting some relief. I did not pinch my skin up, like it said. I did not read that far into the instruction because of my excitement. I did not feel any pain or anything like most of the comment above. I am just wondering if I did it right. I did have a lil bit of the medication on the injection spot after I injected, not really enough to speak of. I was finally diagnosed with AS after years of doctors telling me there was nothing wrong with me. I finally found a doctor that believed in me and to help me. I am so grateful. I also was wondering how long it takes after the first injection do you feel a difference. Also has anyone had any side affects. Last but not least, does everyone with AS has issues with their eyes. Just wondering if I need to get an eye exam.

  51. Kassie says:

    My 14 year old started Humira in August for enthecitis (and hopefully will also cover his Crohn’s). He wants to quit because of the painful injections. We have the prefilled syringes and I will inject slower next time – we had been thinking faster to get it over with but that’s not working. If that doesn’t work will talk to our doc about lidocaine. He had mentioned it but is concerned that it affects the efficacy of the Humira – anyone know the answer to that? Good luck to all and thanks for the tips.

  52. Betty says:

    Thank you all for your posts. I gave my 11 year old daughter her first dose of humira today (for her uveitis). I hope it stops the inflammation in her eye. I can’t believe I have to do this for 2 more years. I can’t believe some of you have to take it for the rest of your lives. I hope these pharmacists find a way to make this less painful!

  53. Lorraine Scott-Wilson says:

    Thanks for everyones comments and I know that I am not alone with the pain of the Hunira pen – in fact I had a total hip replacement a few months ago and yelled at my Husband after he had injected me that I would rather have a hip operation than the injection. I am due to have another injection tonight and am dreading it. I may try some of your remedies that I have not used yet. Take care.

  54. Sardines says:

    I used Enbrel for several years in a pen and thought the pen was the greatest invention on earth. You don’t get spooked by the needle, because you can’t see it, fast, efficient, etc. Then I self-injected Methotrexate for a while with syringes, learning how to draw it out of a vial, tap out the bubbles, etc. From that, I discovered that I preferred having control over the speed of the injection. I went for syringes when I was switched to Humira. Thank god. The drug itself hurts. Let it warm up for at least 30 minutes, 2 hours is not too long. (One time I was in a rush and rolled it between my palms to warm it up for only 5 minutes. Big mistake. It hurt like hell.) Take your time. I do 2 mls, stop for 15 seconds, 2 more mls, etc. When it gets really painful, I pull the needle out a millimeter or so to find a new “void” in the tissues to force that drug into. When all else fails, I have stopped and reinserted the needle elsewhere. You’re not supposed to do that, but I’m not doing to throw away such an expensive drug. Also, I disinfect a huge area before I start (4 or 5 square inches of skin, top of thigh) so I have this option. Lastly, I live alone, so I give myself permission to groan out loud and curse the gods that gave me an auto-immune disease.

  55. Bob Newman says:

    My first two shots of Humeria were the most painful I have ever taken (I take three shots of type R and N [nsulin every day of my life)

    I left the pen out of the frige for 45 min for my third shot. I put a folded towel in my teeth… pinched my right side of my lower abdomen hard… pr.essed the pen down hard.. expecting the pain… gritted my teeth… pressed the purple button with the music on loud… and then….no pain at all. I looked at the pen after fifteen seconds and to my amazement I saw the yellow marker.
    Prayer works

  56. Cory says:

    I use Humira for psoriasis and take an injection twice a month. I prefer the syringe over the self injecting pen because it gives me more control of the pressure that I have heard a lot of people speak of.

    Definitely get the medicine to at least room temperature, greatly eliminates the pain from injection. My biggest issue was after the injection I would have swelling, redness and a noticeable heat at and around the injection site. My dermatologist recommended taking a anti-histamine an hour before injecting and another immediately following. This has greatly reduced the swelling and irritation following my injections. I hope this helps others.

  57. cecilia says:

    I have severe RA that has affected me 30 + yrs.
    Joint pain comes with the territory of RA.
    Yes, it helps to know others endure the Humira injections as I did with my 1st shot 2 wks ago.
    I remember the worst moment in time following the 1st injection.
    I felt unable to hold my grip of handling a primeval scream for a few minutes afterword.
    My ability to keep RA flares at bay with Humira is worth every minute of torture.
    I know the worst of the shot pain will help manage my RA; & for that I can SMILE!!!
    I hope this sobering outcome helps readers better cope while on Humira shots every 2 weeks.

  58. Becca says:

    I’m 20 years old and I was diagnosed last year with Stills Disease. I was originally taking Kineret, but I started to have an allergic reaction and was forced to find an alternative. I must say that this post was so relatable! I read it to my boyfriend (the stabber lol) and was telling him that it was so true! I am definitely going to try all of this! I use the pen, but I’m contemplating trying to do the syringe! Needles just make me nauseous (I have my boyfriend do it because I cannot get past the mental block and terror to actually jab myself). But maybe if I just look away and breathe, it’ll help with that, and be less painful!! We’ll see!

  59. Marion Anderson says:

    I have to inject every week into my stomach and yes, it HURTS!!! Allowing it to warm up makes a huge difference. I replied though because I have a question:
    Has anyone else ever have the needle end come out of the box all loose? My last one moved in whatever direction I turned the pen. Needless to say, I passed on the injection. Hopefully I can just return it to the drugstore in the morning. I’m just wondering how common this might happen.

  60. Susan says:

    Me again, it’s been a while! I have switched to using my stomach to inject the Humira syringe and that is less painful for me. Out of curiosity I checked and both the pen and the syringe have the same exact gauge & length of needle (27 gauge 1/2″- which is very small), so that is not why one may feel different than the other in terms of pain. I don’t feel the Humira needle going in, it’s the stuff itself. I do agree, after having to use pens again for a month as the pharmacy messed up & got them instead of the syringes & I had to take them because it was the day I needed it, the pens really do hurt more. I can see why they are better for some hands or folks who are squeamish about seeing needles, but the suckers make it hurt more! Maybe it’s the “bang” or the angle- the pen is perpendicular whereas the syringe goes in at a 45 degree angle, so the pen needle goes deeper into the skin. The stuff burns like lava going in, but at least the pain goes away fairly fast.

    I am back on injectible methotrexate 15 mg/week and doing well, the bod is quiet for now. I am going to speak w/ my rheumy next visit about lowering the dose on the MTX w/ the hopes to get off it. I also have necrotising scleritis in both eyes and they are quiet now too & the ophthalmologist is a happy camper & thinks this is a good time to try to lower the dose or maybe get off it.

    I had foot surgery the end of August and the surgeon never called the rheumy like she said she would to discuss my meds, so I assumed it was OK to stay on all my meds and I did. (It wasn’t, of course, but I assumed she called and secured the rheumy’s blessings.) Anyhow, I rapidly developed CRPS (RSD) in the foot after the surgery and I have been through months of agony with that. Trust me, it is horribly painful, makes RA a piece of cake, and you can’t even tolerate air on your skin. Has anyone else had surgery or serious injury to a hand/foot/wrist/ankle while on their meds and had this problem? I went to PT & pain management and refused pain killers or the nerve blocks she offered, so I am just dealing with it myself as I am really doctor shy now. Of course the foot surgeon says the meds had nothing to do with the CRPS, but she could be lying to cover her mistake as the rheumy would have said no to the surgery until I stopped the drugs and of course the drug companies are not going to admit their drugs caused any problems. It may have nothing to do with the drugs I was on when I had the surgery, I will probably never know.

    Happy new year to everyone, maybe this will be the year they find a cure for one of these horrible diseases?

  61. joanna says:

    wow this post pretty much sums up my experience. i feel so much better knowing that i am not alone. like you, i have IBD and experience shots, infusions, and bloodwork ALL the time. you’d think i’d be totally fine with humira shots. HELL to the NO. the nurse came over to do my loading doses today and i already had the humira out of the fridge for 45 minutes. i iced my legs and gut and hoped for the best. i could only take 3 of the 4 loading doses because i thought i was going to have a heart attack. the pain i experienced was like my legs being sawed off. i could not even fathom giving myself the injection because i would just faint. my hands, feet, and lips went numb, my chest was tight, i got really cold, and was hyperventilating. my pulse was through the roof. it sounded liked i was being murdered on the couch.

    honestly, i don’t think i can do the next doses. my UC symptoms aren’t bad enough for this kind of agony.

  62. Lyza Gardner says:

    Hi, everybody! Thanks for your great ongoing comments and discussion. As part of an archiving process for my web site, I am disabling comments at this time. However, I see this post as an important point of community for those of us using Humira, and hope I can re-enable discussion at some point in the near future!

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