I am pleasantly surprised and extremely relieved to report that my initial dose of Cosentyx — two 150 mg injections — was not terribly awful! After six months on Humira, I was nervous. I expected the experience to be similar. It was not.
Here are the differences I noticed…
With the Humira pen, the instructions advise pinching a chunk of flesh into which the medication is injected. The Cosentyx “Sensoready” pen is just held against the flesh, no pinching required. This is important if you, like me, are taking the drug to combat psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes it’s hard to pinch that inch.
Well, not NO pain, but very little pain. As compared to the Humira shot, the Cosentyx shot hurt much less. I don’t know if it’s a smaller gauge needle or if it’s a less viscous medicine, but it simply hurt less injecting the Cosentyx. I did hit a blood vessel on the second leg which bled a little, but it was nothing a small Band-Aid couldn’t handle.
The Humira autoinjector pen has two caps, one covering the needle and one covering the plunger. The Cosentyx Sensoready pen has one cap covering the needle only and no plunger. Again, this is very helpful if you have stiff joints, because you don’t have to hold the pen steady while simultaneously pushing in and holding the plunger button at the top of the pen with the same hand. With Cosentyx, you hold the pen tightly to your skin and it does the rest.
No question about the injection!
With the Humira pen, you will hear a click after you push the plunger to let you know the medicine is injecting. You’re advised to count to ten and then make sure the yellow marker in the window stops moving before removing the pen. Cosentyx clicks once as the medicine starts flowing and clicks again when it is almost done. Once the green marker in the window stops moving, you know to remove the pen. With the Cosentyx, I could look away (read: distract myself visually) while the medicine loaded. I heard the second click telling me it was almost done, looked at the window, confirmed it was finished, and removed the pen. With the Humira pen, it was a little hard to see sometimes inside that window, but the Cosentyx pen gives you that second click so you know for sure.
Okay, maybe not NO, but it seems like LESS. This could be all in my head, but it feels to me like it takes less time for the Cosentyx pen to shoot the medicine into your body. Or maybe it’s the pain that makes the Humira pen seem to load so slowly.
No bi-weekly shots!
Cosentyx is once a month; Humira is every other week.
I should add the qualifier “yet”. I had to take methotrexate with my Humira, but am not currently taking it.
And for the negatives…
Missing alcohol swab!
The Humira box does come with two pens and two alcohol prep pads. The Cosentyx box does not. These are not hard or expensive to purchase, so no big deal. Both drug manufacturers have websites that offer welcome kits, information, sharps containers, etc.
Hello, side effects!
I don’t remember ever having any side effects from the Humira, except maybe some nasal congestion. Within a half-hour of injecting the Cosentyx, though, I developed a headache. Not a migraine-intensity headache, but a pretty solid headache.
Bigger loading dose!
I injected two Humira shots the first week, then once a week for three weeks, before the regular dose of once biweekly. The loading dose for Cosentyx is two shots a week for six weeks, then once a month. To be fair, I was on the lower dose of Humira and the higher dose of Cosentyx, so…
I have high hopes for this medication. We’re getting off to a good start!