How Long Does It Take For Humira To Work?

Question

Asked by Joanzie1

How Long Does It Take For Humira To Work?

My husband was diagnosed with RA about 9 months ago, and he is having a horrible time! He did ok on methotrexate for a while, but then he had a terrible flare-up and his doctor prescribed Humira. So far he has had three shots, but the flares are continuing. Does anyone know how long it can take for Humira to work? He is SO depressed!

Answer

I'm so sorry to hear that your husband is having a rough time. It's very hard to watch your loved one being so much pain. Humira, one of the Biologics used for RA, can take quite a while to work - usually up to three months or more. Look out for subtle signs that it's is working, such as your husband is having slightly less pain or a bit more energy.

Your husband may want to talk to his rheumatologist about getting a prescription of prednisone or a steroid burst (a short, fairly high dose of prednisone). This may help him function while he waits for Humira to kick in. It may also be a good idea for him to have a conversation about pain management. Some rheumatologists don't treat pain, instead focusing on treating the information that ultimate causes of pain. If this describes your husband's rheumatologist, he may want to talk to his family doctor about pain management or ask for a referral to a pain specialist.

RA and depression often goes hand in hand, especially during times of active RA. It's very hard to wake up day after day in extreme pain and it seeming as if nothing is working. It's why having effective pain management is so important, but unfortunately, it's often something that the person living with the disease (and their loved ones) have to push for. This is where you can play an important role. When you're living through a bad flare, it can take over to the extent that you sort of turn inwards, just trying to get through the day. Having your loved ones remind you that is not normal to be in so much pain can help you to get to a point where you push hard for pain management.

Unfortunately, it's quite common for it to take a while to find a medication that works. It's hard to get your hopes up and have them dashed again and that contributes to depression. You may want to suggest that your husband also talks to me that his rheumatologist or his family doctor about counselling. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be especially helpful in learning to cope with a chronic illness.

I hope things get better for the two of you. Please keep us posted on how things are going?

Answered by Lene Andersen, MSW