Trials and Tribulations of Enbrel

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As you may recall, I went to my Rheumy two weeks ago on Wednesday during which appointment he prescribed me Enbrel. That day they submitted the prescription and told me that it would need to be pre-approved by my insurance before it was filled so they would let me know when that process was complete so I could pick up the prescription. A week later (this past Wednesday), I called regarding my uncontrollable itching and also asked about the medicine. They nurse said call on Friday if you still haven’t heard anything. Mind you, I’m leaving on Monday for 8 days in Denver for work so I NEED more enbrel.

On Thursday afternoon my Rheumy called me to check in. We discussed the itching and the lack of pain relief in my knees, hips, and back. He told me to take Zyrtec, Benadryl (at night), and to switch to Nambumetone rather than Meloxicam. So, he sent in those prescriptions. I then brought up the Enbrel- he told me to talk to his secretary about it to get it figure out. The woman I spoke with was very nice, however she said “it looks like you didn’t need pre-approval, just go to the CVS and ask them for the prescription. If they won’t give it to you, let us know.” Rather than showing up like a crazed drug addict, I decided to call. After putting me on hold for about 20 minutes, the pharmacist came back on and said there was never a prescription sent over for Enbrel. awesome.

I called the doctor back and after being put on hold explained the situation. She put me on hold again and then came back stating that she was sorry and it never was sent over, the woman with her was on the phone with my insurance currently and it would be taken care of immediately. I then went online to Enbrel Support to register some extra insurance card thing. It’s unclear to me what it is besides subsidies for Enbrel. I don’t know who pays for it (probably tax payers?) or why I get it, but I do, so I tried to register. It sends you through a variety of questions and asks for contact information and then you hit submit. Easy enough- I already had a card from my Rheumy with an ID number. OF COURSE, the site crashed three times.

Finally I gave up and called the 1800 number. I basically spent 45 minutes on the phone with a guy who although very nice, seemed to now know what he was doing. Even though I explained that I had a card already and had just started taking Enbrel, he continued to ask me over and over how many years I have been on Enbrel and if I was just trying to renew my membership. 45 minutes later, he assigned me new numbers and a new card (god only knows when that will get here). The upside: I was able to use the numbers without the card.

I went to CVS to pick up the prescription. After a little wait the pharmacist brought out the Enbrel from the refrigerator (yay!). I handed over my temporary Enbrel support card and he looked very confused and then told me I would have to wait. Fine. About 20 minutes later, they called my name. I’m not sure what they did or what black magic they used, but bam! I had Enbrel! The even better part? IT WAS FREE! No, seriously. I didn’t have to pay one cent for FOUR injectors. I’m not sure why or how, but I will take it.

Down-Side: About 2 full days of my life wasted trying to get a prescription of Enbrel
Up-Side: Four injectors were free

Giving Yourself Enbrel at Home:
In case you’re wondering what the process is like… this is the set up along with the steps you take to successfully give yourself a shot.

 

 

1. Gather Accessories Andrew’s sister-in-law mentioned that it is less stinging if you take the Enbrel out and let it warm up for about 10 minutes. So I tried that…

2. Wash Your Hands– didn’t take a picture!

 

 

 

 

 

3. Swab the Injection Area with Alcohol Swab– note to self, remember WHERE you swab or you will have to do it again. Also, let alcohol dry BEFORE injecting (less stinging).

4. Remove the White Cap from the Injector– the white cap is what covers the needle. I use my teeth to pull it out- works better when you are trying to do too many things at once.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Pinch Area of Skin Where Giving Injection and Hold– this is weird. My doctor told me to do this, although the directions in the kit say to stretch the skin. Either way, I’m sure it is painful.

6. Ensure there are Not a lot of Extra Air Bubbles in the Liquid- They say to do this, but honestly, the more you tap the little liquid, the more bubbles that appear…

 

 

 

 

7. Push the Injector Down Hard- I’m pretty sure the reason is this pushes the needle into the skin. Surprisingly enough, I’ve found myself freaking out with anxiety over the impending stinging of doom that I can really feel the needle. Oh, in addition, the window viewer should be facing you so you can see the liquid draining (I don’t pay attention to the window, usually my eyes are closed and I just listen for the second click).

8. Press the Blue Button on Top- Stinging commence. No really. A lot of stinging/burning. Awesome. When you press the button, you hear a click. The liquid starts to go into your thigh. It feels a lot like a bee with a long stinger that is pushing the stinger deeper and deeper into your leg. You wait. A. really. long. time. Then it clicks again, signally that you are done.

 

 

 

 

9. Remove Injector and Discard into Sharps Container- I’m not really sure what to do with the sharps container once it’s full, but apparently Enbrel Support will give you a new bigger sharps container. Cool, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Use Gauze to Stop Bleeding and Cover with Mini Band-Aid-Not much bleeding this time! And you’re done!

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4 responses »

  1. I’m so excited to have you here next week!! ~;o) We can have an Enbrel shooting up discussion at that time as well because, for example, I never squeeze or stretch my thigh, I don’t think you have to push the injector down that hard, and I know what to do with a full sharps container. ~;o) So we can discuss all of these details in person next weekend if you like. Can. Not. Wait. To see you guys!!!

  2. Pingback: Flying with Enbrel… It’s like a Bullseye « Taking the World by Storm

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