Ch-ch-ch-Changes

For nearly a year now, I’ve been injecting Enbrel weekly.  It was pretty scary in the beginning, but I like Enbrel.  I like how it makes me feel so much better.  I like how easy it is to use.  I like the once-a-week schedule so that it’s easy to remember and incorporate into a routine.  I like that it works.

My inflammatory markers look good.  Ten years ago, my response to the meds would be considered a success story.  Now, my rheumatologist tells me, the standards are higher.  She’s treating me, not my lab reports, and thinks I might do better on Humira.  I shouldn’t have new bursitis, I shouldn’t have enthesitis, my feet shouldn’t hurt all the time if these meds were doing their job 100%.  So, effective immediately, I’ve moved on to my second biologic.

I just got off the phone from trying to activate my new Humira card.  All the literature – yes, I actually read this stuff – says that the card is good for twelve months.

  • “This card is valid for 12 months from the date of first use, after which the patient has the option to reenroll (sic) in the program.”
  • “The program pays:  Months 1-12: Up to $500 each month”
  • “Easy to renew after 12 months”

After providing all my information, the voice on the other end of the phone concluded the conversation by saying that this card is good for twelve fills.

“No, you mean twelve months, right?  That’s what your literature says.” 

We went back and forth, her insisting that it’s only good for twelve fills, and me wondering why they won’t cover that last fill of the year when their written materials say that they’ll help out for a full twelve months.

A Humira prescription gets me a box of two injections to be given every-other-week, which should make one box last four weeks.  Divide fifty-two weeks of the year by four weeks per box, and it’s obvious that it takes thirteen fills to get through a year.  This is basic math that my eight-year-old understands; it should not be an impossible concept for an adult to grasp.

Some people will point out that I should be grateful that they’re picking up a portion of the cost.  And I am.  Really.  Extremely grateful.  I just happen to think it’s deceitful to tell people that the card is good for a year if it isn’t. (/rant)

I got my first Humira injection today.  I now have a headache – my first in over a year.  I hope that’s bad coincidental timing, and not a problem that I’ll have with the new med.  Since I’d heard that Humira stings much more than Enbrel, I was a bit concerned.  That turned out not to be true – at least for me.  It was about the same.  With any luck, that will continue.

And now, given that it’s only a week until Christmas, I should probably start my Christmas shopping.
Or baking.  Or packing for our trip.
Have a Merry Christmas!

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6 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-Changes

  1. Good luck with the Humira. It has worked great for me for almost 2 years. Hope that headache is just a fluke. Did you have to stop the Enbrel for a few months to switch or did she just switch you from 1 to the other right away?
    Enjoy your holidays!!!

  2. Hope that Humira is even more successful than the Enbrel was — and I know how pleased you were with it. I went the opposite route. I started with Humira, went to Simponi, then have been on Enbrel since last December. (My experience is that they all sting about the same …) Fingers crossed for even better results in the New Year!

  3. I hope Humira works even better for you. I was also just prescribed it this week, after the methotrexate didn’t do very much at all. Now I’m fighting with my rather poor insurance company to get any part of it covered. (My insurance is so bad, Methotrexate was on their pre-authorization list, and the generic still costs me almost 30 dollars a month!). Tomorrow I’ll call the company, and hopefully also get on their assistance list. This is the first biologic I’ve tried, and I’m really hoping for some good results. The doc still isn’t certain I have RA, so he says it may or may not help. At this point, I’m game to try almost anything in order to finally improve. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed (as much as they’ll go) for a much better New Year!

    • I think Humira’s assistance program has changed since I looked at it last year – much better.

      My info says that for patients who have insurance to cover part of the cost, they’ll pay up to $500 per month. My co-pay would be $35 (in theory, not approved yet), but their assistance program knocks it down to $5. Plus, they’ll help with the cost of one other DMARD, too. Enbrel’s program didn’t do that. I think the two companies are competing based on the assistance program! Good luck! I hope you get approved and that it works well for you :)

  4. I sincerely hope this takes care of those last nasty pains and you are feeling tons better soon. I initially had a headache with Enbrel that has now gone away. I hope the same happens for you with Humira.

    Happy Holidays WarmSocks.

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