My Top 3 Biologic Injection Tips
Last updated: April 2023
When I first started biologic medication to control my rampant inflammation, I was so frightened. If you join any sort of chronic illness community, you’ll hear plenty of good and bad conversations about these medications.
Some of those conversations are super positive; people have experienced life-altering benefits or even remission because of biologics!
Who, me? Giving myself a needle?
However, there are also plenty of people for whom biologics didn't work. That, or they experienced extreme side effects (I, myself, had shingles). So, when my rheumatologist first brought up the idea of a biologic injectable, I froze.
As a kid, I was the child who straight-up fainted whenever I got a shot. Yes, even the tiny TB one they give you at school. It took my parents and nurses—all full-blown adults—to hold me down when I needed a needle. My mind gets the worst of me.
How I made biologic injections work for me...
I’ll be honest: Biologics made me regress into my inner child. For one, I couldn’t stand the idea that I even needed medication. And I couldn’t bear the idea that I’d be injecting myself with serious pharmaceuticals. It all felt foreign and frightening to me. But the reality is that if you need it, you need it.
When I got past the initial shock, I had to build biologic injection days into my everyday routine. I was supposed to inject every two weeks, and that would become my new normal. Here’s what I learned from that experience.
Watch patient videos beforehand.
Before I started self-injecting, I went to YouTube and watched plenty of chronic illness advocates inject themselves. I tried to find people using the same medication because the injection pen was more likely to be the same. Watching a bunch of different people give themselves biologic injections of all sorts helped prepare me, too.
If they were brave enough to do it, why couldn’t I be? If it stung a little bit, but they could totally take it, wouldn’t I get past the initial click of the needle? There are plenty of people out there injecting themselves, and they have so many amazing tips and pointers. This is a treasure trove.
Take advantage of the programs available to you.
If your medication comes with a nurse ambassador, take advantage of that service! Having someone to call or text on injection days helped me get comfortable with the process. I loved knowing that there was someone there who would answer my questions.
I would also highly recommend you utilize any resources they have on offer—like apps, reminder calls, and support or learning videos.
Figure out a way to build injections into the routine of your life.
Start thinking through the following: How will you get the medication? Do you have to be home in order to receive the specialty pharmacy delivery? When do they arrive? Do you have to inject on a specific day? Should you take the medication out of the fridge for a few minutes before injecting it? What makes you feel calm?
Is there someone you can call? Where on your body did you last inject, and where will you inject this week? Instead of everything feeling disorganized or surprising, take stock. What are some ways that you can anticipate and plan for injection days? How can you build the biologic into your life?
Oh, and the injection? Barely felt it.
While that particular biologic didn’t work for me in the end, I definitely feel like I became more capable than I ever was before.
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