The Humira Hangover
Last updated: October 2023
Since Keegan, my husband with AS, began taking Humira over 2 years ago, he's always talked about a "Humira hangover." He'd describe it as a small period of time where his AS symptoms would peak from taking Humira. It'd knock him out for almost an entire day sometimes. After we had Kaya, our daughter, he talked to his doctor about it and how much it impeded his life when he took Humira weekly. Now he's on Humira every other week and I decided to sit down and interview him to understand a bit more about what a Humira hangover is.
The Humira hangover and Humira side effects with ankylosing spondylitis
Keegan: I believe it may be an uncommon symptom of Humira. The 24 hours after taking an injection, my fatigue and pain are generally worse. A bunch of other symptoms I deal with are worse, but only for 24 hours, then they’re better. (So it’s very much like a hangover—you just gotta rest.)
Keegan: It exacerbates symptoms I’m currently feeling. Pain and fatigue are the top two. The hangover amps everything up a little bit.
Impact of treatment
Keegan: I switched my Humira injection date from the middle of the week to the weekend so I could have the support of you (Auldyn). I also take it a the end of the day so I sleep through most of the hangover, but it does make my sleep rough.
Is a Humira hangover like a flare?
Keegan: It feels like a mini flare-up kind of in my body, except there’s no way of controlling it. It just kind of goes away on its own.
Managing the Humira hangover
Keegan: Taking it easy usually helps. That’s why it’s nice to take it on the weekend and have a relaxing day to go out with you (Auldyn) and Kaya. That way I’m not the only one having to be active and responsible throughout the day.
Keegan: I feel like resting is better during a Humira hangover than it usually is for dealing with my symptoms. Usually, I would want to balance rest and activity to make sure my body doesn’t get too much of one or the other during the day. With the Humira hangover, I feel like just spending a good chunk of my day on the couch does help. I also vape medical marijuana when my pain gets to a level where I’m not present anymore.
Advice for starting biologics
Keegan: Honestly deciding to go on Humira was a big choice for me. It was a choice between having a better quality of life with a couple of sacrifices or always being in pain. The Humira hangover is a small price to pay when it improves my quality of life the way it does. Honestly, I just see it as a side effect of my medication and not a big deal.
Talking to your doctor
Keegan: I have. I have also mentioned it to my pharmacy reps. They both kind of don’t seem familiar with it, even though it’s a well-known topic in online communities.
Have you ever dealt with a Humira hangover, or similar symptoms after taking a biologic? Keegan and I would love to hear your story!
Do you notice worsening flares in colder weather?