Enbrel Injection For Psoriasis Kids
Psoriasis and the fear of needles
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Trypanophobia. That’s a big word that refers to the fear of injections. As a child, my parents would have dubbed me a trypanophobiac. Getting immunizations struck fear in my and their hearts. I have a vague memory of pulling a needle out of my arm as soon as the nurse punctured through my skin. That day they needed three adults to hold me down for one immunization.
When psoriasis first presented on my body, I did not consider needing any kind of injection to treat it. Back then we used topicals, baths and light to try to suppress the sores - but no needles…at least until systemic medications flew onto my radar screen.
With methotrexate, I started regular blood tests that haven’t ceased to this day. Every month to two months for the past 16 years, I have endured the phlebotomist’s needle - seriously unpleasant to be sure. With my two liver biopsies, I remember seeing a large needle-like object in the surgeon’s hand, but I was too groggy to really care. Over time, I became accustomed to others giving me injections. While I still don’t like it, I chuckle when I need to drag my children kicking and screaming to get immunizations.
With the advent of biologics, psoriasis patients with moderate to severe psoriasis face more and more needles. It’s fantastic that medical science can isolate and target the cause of the inflammatory response in the immune system. I only wish these new wonder drugs could be ingested like Neoral, Soriatane, or methotrexate (well, I had that injected in my hip too - ouch!). Some are injected in the doctor’s office or the infusion center (like Amevive or Remicade), but others are self-injected (like Enbrel, Raptiva).
So on a fateful doctor visit the dermatologist told me there is a great new biologic to try called Enbrel (etanercept). Since I had recently finished a failed course of Amevive (alefacept), I thought this was great news and asked where I went to get the shots. He told me I had to inject myself. Anxiety and great trepidation ensued along with a cold sweat.
He set up an appointment for me to be trained by a nurse on how to mix (this is before pre-filled syringes) and administer Enbrel. With the Enbrel kit in hand, complete with a small sharps container, video, and instructions, I headed home for sleepless nights and anxiety riddled days. The doctor also sent me home with a couple of needles to practice on an orange—an old technique used by medical students he told me.
The training went well enough. The first time I had to inject myself, I put the needle back in the refrigerator to think it over. I finally did gather enough courage to inject myself, wondering for days after if I had done it correctly. Putting a needle into my own leg or stomach felt like the most counter-intuitive action I could engage in. Back then I had to inject myself four times, two times-twice a week. I tried the first time around for 16 weeks (that’s 64 needle pricks). Sadly, it wasn’t effective. With my psoriasis spreading rapidly, I could hardly find an injection site that hadn’t been recently used.
What we’ll do for psoriasis, I tell you.
Now I use pre-filled syringes twice a week, injecting my ever expanding belly exclusively. I still don’t look forward to Sunday night and Thursday morning, but I’ve made my peace with it.
Trypanophobia. Do you have it? Have you had to overcome it to treat your psoriasis?
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