I’d never given myself an injection before I started using FIRAZYR® (icatibant injection), which is an injection you can give yourself just under the skin of your abdomen, as soon as you recognize symptoms of an acute HAE attack, after you have been trained by a healthcare professional. FIRAZYR is used to treat acute attacks of HAE in adults 18 years of age and older.
I admit, I was a little nervous about injecting myself. I wondered if I could do it and if it would hurt. My doctor’s office contacted Shire’s product support service, called OnePath®, and requested FIRAZYR injection training for me. After coordinating everything with my OnePath Case Manager, a registered nurse came by my work and walked me through the injection process step by step. The nurse was very nice and understanding; she brought along a “dummy tummy” for me to practice on.
But I was still a little nervous, so when I had an HAE attack not long after my training, I went to my doctor’s office. I gave myself the FIRAZYR injection with my doctor right there giving me instruction and guidance. This may not work for everyone, but it certainly made the whole process more comfortable for me. It gave me confidence. When we were deciding if I would use FIRAZYR, my doctor had gone over the risks and benefits of FIRAZYR with me. He’d said the most common side effects are injection-site reactions like burning, itching, or swelling, and reminded me that everyone reacts differently to treatments. He told me I may experience other side effects related to FIRAZYR, too. He also told me that if the attack caused swelling at my throat, also called a laryngeal attack, I still needed to seek immediate medical attention after injecting with FIRAZYR, because laryngeal attacks can be life-threatening.
That first time I used FIRAZYR, I did have a small swollen area around the injection site, but everyone’s experience with FIRAZYR may be different.
I make sure I always follow the directions for using FIRAZYR given to me by my doctor:
- Store FIRAZYR between 36°F and 77°F (2°C and 25°C)
- Inject just under the skin of my abdomen, about two to four inches below my belly button, on either side
- Inject the medicine slowly, over at least 30 seconds
In addition, my doctor taught me helpful techniques such as:
- Have the medicine I am injecting at room temperature, because that’s more comfortable for me
- Remember to BREATHE and relax
These are just things that work for me, and of course everyone is different. It’s important for everyone to discuss all aspects of treatment with their own healthcare professionals. Now, as soon as I recognize that I’m having symptoms of an acute HAE attack, I self-inject, at work or at home. So, even though I was apprehensive at first to inject, I’m proud that I took a deep breath and took that educated leap. I try my best not to let my HAE rule my life, and I do what I can so that my fears don’t rule my life, either.
What helps you overcome obstacles? Please leave a comment!
If you have HAE, you may want to talk with your doctor about treatment options. If you want to talk about FIRAZYR with your doctor, click here to sign up for more information, including a page that you can download and take with you to your next doctor’s appointment. If you and your doctor decide that FIRAZYR might be an appropriate treatment option for you, he or she can request a single dose of FIRAZYR as a sample for you to try.