The Voiceless (My Humira Experiences)
I started Humira injections three weeks ago and two days ago I noticed that I’m losing my voice mid-way through my day. I didn’t have the slightest of clues but when I did some research I found an article about Humira and Hoarseness or changing voice – a phase IV clinical study of FDA data. The article does state, “Hoarseness or changing voice is found among people who take Humira, especially for people who are female, 60+ old, have been taking the drug for < 1 month.” Well, I don’t fit the profile, as I’m a male (and I identify as a male if that matters, and I was born a male, I have male parts, so….. I guess that makes me a male) and I’m under 60, but I haven’t found anything else to blame the hoarseness on.
By the end of the day, say 8 p.m. I can’t talk at all, My throat is really sore, but not a sore throat kind of sore, it is sore where my vocal cords are.
The next day, I woke up and my voice was fine and my throat felt good as well. But as the day progressed, I became hoarse and eventually lost my voice on the way home from work. That evening I did a little more research and sure enough, looking at the official side-effects for Humira, there it is in a nice 12-pitch Arial font for the entire interweb to see, “hoarseness” and right under it is “loss of voice”. Well hell, I like this damn medication and I’m going to be forced to make that choice. I can’t swap A for B, or can I? Now I need to weigh the pros and the cons here. I like Humira over Enbrel for the following reasons:
1. Humira doesn’t use a preservative that stings as Enbrel does
2. The autoinjector needle is smaller, I’m not afraid of needles, but it is night and day. When I was injecting Enbrel, you felt the needle and you felt the sting of the preservative. When I took my first Humira injection, I didn’t think it actually injected because I felt nothing. I seriously thought that the injector had malfunctioned. In my second injection, I once again expected mild pain and again, nothing at all.
3. When I was taking Enbrel (I injected it on Friday evenings), I started to feel it wearing off around Wednesday. Which meant a few days of feeling blah. With Humira, I don’t have those feelings.
Yes, I’m fully aware that those are really silly pros for the medication, and they are very self-centered but isn’t this what this choice is about? It is all about me and how I like it, you may like it for other reasons, who knows.
So now I’m forced to play a game, and suddenly the little voice in my head sounds like Joshua from WarGames (1983) “Shall we play a game?”. How important is a voice? How important is feeling human(ish)? How important is living with less pain? Damn, I so hate this game, I have played it so many times with so many medications over so many years, and I’m so very tired of it. I called my rheumatologist and she wants me to see an ENT. Ugh, right now, I think my strategy is to see what happens over the next few weeks, does it get better or worse? The list of side effects doesn’t state how long it lasts so I’m kind of just waiting for now.
Wish me luck.