It might seem intimidating at first, but you’ll adjust quickly.
Your doctor has recommended biologics to treat your psoriasis. While you are eager to see if biologics will help reduce your psoriasis symptoms, you know this means giving yourself an injection. Luckily, today’s biologics are easier than ever to use—even if you’re afraid of needles.
Nobody expects you to be a pro at self-injections on day one. Your doctor will make sure you are comfortable using your biologic for psoriasis, and it’s okay to have lots of questions. Here’s a bit more information on using a biologic injection in order to manage your psoriasis.
What Are Biologics For Psoriasis?
Biologics are a type of drug that focuses on a particular part of the immune system. Instead of suppressing the entire immune system, they block just the part that is causing symptoms of psoriasis. Learn more about how biologics for psoriasis work here.
The types of biologics that exist for psoriasis include:
- Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) Inhibitors
- Interleukin 17 (IL-17) Inhibitors
- Interleukin 23 (IL-23) Inhibitors
- T-Cell Inhibitors
FYI, not all biologics come in an injection form. Generally, if they aren’t given through injection, they’ll most likely be given through an IV infusion.
Using Biologics for Psoriasis: How to Give Yourself an Injection
It is customary for the patient to give themselves their first injection in the office. That way, the nurse or doctor can check that they’re doing it correctly, and the patient has an opportunity to ask questions. If your doctor doesn’t immediately offer this option, ask for it. Normally, they’ll be more than willing to assist you.
Patients can now choose two different delivery methods: an auto-injector or a pre-filled syringe. For both, follow these steps for a successful injection:
- First, let the medication come to room temperature
- Wash your hands
- Clean the injection site (the lower abdomen, inner thigh, or outer arm is recommended)
- Next, take off the caps
- Hold up to the skin
- Count down (this is helpful if you’re nervous)
- Finally, click the injection button (if using an auto-injector)
- You’ll hear a click, which will signal that your injection is done.
Experts recommend that you rotate injection sites. Over time, the same site could develop sensitivity or pain, so don’t use the same injection site every time. If you’re really struggling, consider having someone with you to support you. Hopefully, they can talk you through it, or simply talk to distract you from the needle.
The Importance of Knowing How to Self-inject
It’s important to know how to administer a biologic shot correctly. If you do it the right way, the treatment should be more effective. On the other hand, incorrect use could affect the efficacy and could even be harmful. If you have more questions about biologic injections and how to administer them, talk to your doctor.
Lindsey Bordone, MD, is a dermatologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
- Giving Yourself Biologic Injections: 23 Practical Tips to Try. Upper Nyack, NY: CreakyJoints. (Accessed May 10, 2021).
- A portfolio of biologic self-injection devices in rheumatology: how patient involvement in device design can improve treatment experience. Bethesda, MD: U.S. National Library of Medicine. (Accessed May 10, 2021).
- How to Overcome a Fear of Needles. Fountain Valley, CA: Memorial Care. (Accessed May 10, 2021).
- Biologics. Alexandria, VA: National Psoriasis Foundation. (Accessed May 10, 2021).