Crohn's Disease Forum » Parents of Kids with IBD » Humira injections - advice needed

04-22-2017, 03:07 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Utah
Humira injections - advice needed

My son had his first set of injections today (4 of them) via pen. It was awful!!! He is 14 and can tolerate pain quite well, and this was way more than he could stand! We did the injections in his thighs. I do my own in my stomach, and they sting sometimes, but nothing like what he experienced, it seems.

We got the shots out of the fridge and iced about 40 min before and iced his legs for about 10 minutes before. Is there anything else that helps? I have heard the stomach is less painful, but he has absolutely no fat there, so he is afraid to even try.

I am worried that he's not going to let me do the next round in two weeks!!
04-22-2017, 03:37 PM   #2
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ronroush7's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: vienna, Virginia

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I have heard that there is supposed to be a new formula that is not yet available in the United States. I don't know of the time table for when it will be available.
Diagnosed in 1990. On Humira, Imuran, Gabapentin, Colestipol, Synthroid, Lialda. Resection in April of 2010. Allergic to Remicade, Penicillin, Flagyl, Doxycycline. Thyroid issues and psoriasis and neuropathy and mild cerebral palsy. Mild arthritis in my lower back.
04-22-2017, 03:37 PM   #3
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Maya142's Avatar
Switch to the syringe! The pen is awful. Really awful, according to my girls. My older daughter quite recently switched to the syringes and says they help a LOT. She says with the syringe, she can control the rate of the injection and can do it slowly so it stings less.

We also iced before and after the shot - till their legs were REALLY cold. Definitely longer than 10 minutes.

We did the shots while watching TV so they were distracted. Some parents ask their kids questions, to keep their minds busy. Some parents use sour candy or sweet candy.

You can also try something like Buzzy, but it's not going to help a whole lot since the medication burns and it's not the needle poke that hurts.

I will tag my little penguin, she adds Lidocaine to the shot to make it less painful. That can help a lot.

The shot formulation is going to change - hopefully this summer. The new formulation is already out in Europe and is supposed to sting/burn MUCH less. So tell him to hang in there!
Mom of M (20)
diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at 16
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at 12
Juvenile Ankylosing Spondylitis at 16

Mom of S (23)
dx with JIA at 14
Ankylosing Spondylitis at 18
04-22-2017, 07:25 PM   #4
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Layla's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: New Zealand

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I concur with the suggestion to use the syringes instead of the pen, big difference!
I would also try, at least once, to use the belly as I too found that way less painful. Just pinch the skin and inject into the fold between your fingers, but that's easier with the syringe than with the pen.
Diagnosed with UC in 1994, CD in 2014, "IBS" in between
Lactose intolerant, IgA deficient and Arthritis.
Resection due to strictures in 2014
Currently taking: amitriptyline, zinc, multi vitamin, b12 shots, Vit D, B complex, magnesium, calcium, Psyllium and the occasional iron infusion, probably sarting a medical trial soon

Previously on Remicade, Humira, Prednisone, Azathioprine, MTX, Pentasa, Asacol, Salofalk
04-22-2017, 08:46 PM   #5
my little penguin
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Join Date: Apr 2012

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Ds has been on humira for five years

Ds rheumo added lidocaine
We draw up lidocaine and add it to the humira syringe
This increase the ph and decreases the burn

Ds would only use his legs for years
Finally this past year he did his stomach and couldn't believe how little it hurt there versus his thighs

I ask Ds questions that he has to think about
Have him describe in detail a happy place
Like the beach -what he sees feels and smells there

We use ice and dum dum lollipops
Sugar blocks the pain signals to the brain
Relaxing helps -so counting puppies during the shot (only 10 puppies btw )
Ice after wards plus a movie or sweet treat

Shot blocker makes it so you don't feel the needle but do feel the burn of the med

Good luck
Please let your child realize after the two shots
It's only one shot every two weeks

Ds is currently on one shot every 5 days

He is 13 and started biologics at age 8.

Humira also takes 3-5 months to be effective
DS - -Crohn's -Stelara -mtx
04-22-2017, 08:49 PM   #6
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Maya142's Avatar
I wanted to add - my kiddo HATED the loading dose too! She had even been on Humira before (but hadn't done the loading dose the first time) and she thought the four shots were awful!!

It does get much easier, once you get to one shot every two weeks or every week (usually you start out with one every two weeks).

We also did dessert after the shot - that helped .
04-22-2017, 09:02 PM   #7
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Utah
Thanks for the suggestions. Being 14, he's pretty sure I don't know anything, even though I've been doing Humira for 4-ish years!! Believe me when I say I tried everything I could think of to distract him!! It was especially hard for him to go through on top of feeling so lousy.

Since we already have the pens for the next injection, I think we're going to have to stick with them for now. But I will see about the syringes after that. I read that if you hit a vein you have to pull them out and not use. How often does that happen?

I tried to convince him to try one in his belly, but he was not having it this time!! Maybe next time.

Too bad the new formula isn't already out. Something to look forward to, I guess.
04-22-2017, 09:10 PM   #8
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Maya142's Avatar
Since you have the next two pens, you will have to use them. But after that, I'd definitely get the syringes.

My daughters refused the syringes for years - they didn't want to see the needles. Finally, my older daughter agreed to switch after I told her how many parents here had said the syringes were less painful.

After her first injection, she immediately called me from college to say she couldn't believe she'd spent years using the pens and the syringe was SO much better.

She has never had trouble with hitting a vein and finds the syringes easy to use. She had learned to to inject with syringes when she was on MTX.

Both my girls were also very against doing the shots in their bellies. They're both very thin but eventually they agreed and both thought it was less painful.

14 is a tough age. Could he try playing video games during the next shot? Or watching TV? Something to distract him, if talking doesn't work. Poor kiddo - the first time is the hardest.

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