My First Humira Hangover

Usually, I aim for my blog posts to be full of tips and words of wisdom - but today, I'm actually turning to my readers for help instead.

About 3 weeks ago, I finally took the decision to begin Humira. This isn't my first experience with biologics. A few years ago, when I lived abroad, I was on Remicade. However, given that this was administered every 8 weeks (and I also had to stay in the hospital for a few hours to rest while doing it), my side effects were luckily limited to grogginess the next day.

Starting Humira for Crohn's disease

With that in mind, I wasn't too worried about the side effects when embarking on my Humira journey (other than, you know, the ones I'd found in a Google black hole late at night – but the less said about those, the better). In fact, my main source of anxiety was the pain I'd heard about when injecting.

I'd read so many tips of: "Brace yourself!" "Use ice!" "Stock up on painkillers!" That it was pretty anticlimactic when I felt nothing at all. For those intrigued, it turns out those of us in the UK have a pretty pain-free formula of the drug, unlike our U.S. friends.

The side effects felt like a hangover

Needless to say, I thought I'd got it cracked after mastering my first injection. But now on my second dose (after taking the loading dose 2 weeks ago), the feeling of what I've dubbed a "Humira hangover" is inescapable.

I feel as if I've gone 10 rounds in a boxing match and someone has stuffed my head with cotton wool in the process. To summarize (as I've no idea if this usual or if I'm alone with this) my "Humira hangover" consists of...

  • Feeling really tired but not actually being able to sleep any more than usual.
  • Feeling "woolly" as if my brain just isn't working properly.
  • Feeling achy, as if I'm recovering from the flu.
  • Just wanting to curl up with Netflix, as if I spent all last night drinking when I was in fact in my PJs by 6 p.m..

The lingering tiredness and fatigue after an injection

Now, many of you might point out that these can also be symptoms of IBD in general, but I've been pretty lucky to date to not suffer from things like fatigue and brain fog. I actually have quite a lot of energy usually (which perhaps make this detour even more noticeable).

Given I'm only now 2 weeks between injections, I can't help but wonder if this will be a new reality? The first few days are the worst but the tiredness seems to linger on and on.

Any tips on managing these Humira side effects?

So far, I've tried bath salts for the achy joints which seem to have helped a little. I've also upped my vitamin D and asked for my levels to be re-tested in case it's a deficiency that is causing me to feel this way.

Other than that, I'm at a loss. And although I'm lucky enough to work for myself at home, there's still a temptation to take way too many mid-day naps until I wait to feel better.

Does anyone else feel like this post-Humira? Does it eventually go away as your body gets used to the drugs or is it simply an inevitable side effect of being on a biologic? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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