Millions of people use injection medicines. If they can, so can you.
You’ve tried a variety of treatment options to get your psoriasis under control, but you haven’t gotten the results that you’ve wanted. Now, your doctor is suggesting biologics for psoriasis. This means you’ll be giving yourself injections, which you’re not thrilled about due to your fear of needles.
You know biologics could help you control your psoriasis, but self-injection terrifies you. How do you face your fear of needles to get the treatment results you deserve?
Putting Injections Into Context
A self-injected medicine may be intimidating and even scary. However, you may be surprised that millions of people take some type of self-injected medicine. This includes people with psoriasis, other autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. It also includes those undergoing fertility treatments or hormone therapy.
Most people who are using injected medicines today were probably afraid at first. Fear of needles is common. Despite this, most people are able to adjust to the routine and overcome their fear of needles. If they can, so can you.
“I would say close to half of my patients, when they hear needles, they're like, ‘Oh my gosh, I don't really know if I want to take this medication,’” says Lindsey Bordone, MD, dermatologist.
“What I explain to them is it doesn't come in a pill version and it's a very good medication,” says Dr. Bordone. “We make it easy for you, and there are these pens that help you do it without having to actually press on a syringe in the majority of cases. So it's doable.”
Tips to Face Your Fear of Needles
Here are some tips that can help you overcome your fear of needles when using biologics to treat psoriasis:
- Acknowledge that it will get easier each time. The first few times may be unnerving, but by the fourth or fifth time, you may find it’s not a big deal anymore.
- Look away. If needles make you squeamish, look away as you press the button on your auto-injection pen. The pen will click when the injection is finished, so you don’t need to watch.
- Distract yourself. Since you don’t need to watch the injection, distract yourself with something else. Check your phone, listen to music, watch a funny cat video, or talk to a friend.
- Ask someone to sit with you. The presence of a loved one may provide emotional support. They can also talk to you and distract you from the injection.
- Count down. Some people find it helpful to count down before they press the button that triggers the injection.
Still struggling? Talk to your doctor. They may be able to provide more tips. Alternatively, you may be a candidate for other types of biologics that are taken less frequently.
Lindsey Bordone, MD, is a dermatologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
- Van den Bemt BJF, Gettings L, Domanska B, Bruggraber R, Mountian I Kristensen LE. A portfolio of biologic self-injection devices in rheumatology: how patient involvement in device design can improve treatment experience. Drug Deliv. 2019;26(1):384-92.
- Giving yourself biologic injections: 23 practical tips to try. Creaky Joints. (Accessed on April 30, 2021)