Infusion Therapy – Not Just for Cancer
Infusion therapy – also called IV therapy – is often associated with cancer treatment. It was designed to deliver various medications into the bloodstream, but it is not just for chemotherapy. Some drugs lose effectiveness when taken orally, so they must be administered intravenously. This article answers your questions about “what is infusion therapy” and explains how it is used beyond chemotherapy.
What is infusion therapy?
Infusion therapy is the administration of fluids, medications or nutrients directly into the bloodstream through a needle or catheter. These infusions provide precise dosing and immediate absorption of the drug. In chemotherapy, the drugs target cancer cells to prevent them from multiplying.
Treatment using an IV is often more efficient and more effective than taking medication orally. Doctors use infused chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer patients. However, this type of treatment can also help people with other illnesses or diseases, such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn’s disease
- Immune deficiencies
Benefits of infusion therapy
The digestive system does not effectively absorb certain medications, so oral medications are sometimes not effective. Using in IV drip, a healthcare provider administers medications or fluids directly into the bloodstream. Infused drugs are able to reach the intended target in the body, thereby maximizing the drug’s effectiveness. This can result in faster symptom relief and better outcomes.
Infusion therapy can offer flexibility in treatment programs to meet each patient’s specific needs. Healthcare providers can adjust the dose and frequency of the medication and the length of time it needs to be administered. This flexibility helps achieve better results and minimize the drug’s potential side effects.
Furthermore, some patients cannot take oral medications. Infusion treatment can be a more comfortable alternative, especially if they need long-term treatment for chronic conditions. IV treatment eliminates the need for frequent pill-taking or relying on often complicated medication schedules.
During infusion therapy sessions, the healthcare provider closely monitors the patient. This ongoing supervision ensures the safety of each patient. If a problem arises, the medical staff can provide immediate help.
Visiting an infusion center can be less expensive than going to a hospital. Some medications are up to 86 percent cheaper at an infusion center. Many centers offer same-day appointments and on-site labs for blood testing to make the experience more convenient.
What diseases are treated with infusion therapy?
In addition to helping people with cancer, infusions can treat other diseases. Let’s look closer at different types of infusion therapy:
Osteoporosis is a disease that makes the bones brittle, weak and prone to break easily. There is no cure for the disease. However, there have been advancements in osteoporosis IV treatment to prevent or slow down the progress of the disease.
Infusion therapy can be used to administer bisphosphonates, a class of drugs that help increase bone density. These drugs slow down bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures in individuals with osteoporosis.
Infusion therapy has an important role in treating multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic neurological disorder with no cure. Doctors infuse disease-modifying therapies to reduce relapses and slow disease progression. These IV infusions can improve the quality of life for people with MS by decreasing the inflammation that causes severe symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissues, causing inflammation and joint pain. A type of antibody therapy called Rituxan administered through infusions can relieve the symptoms of RA and slow joint damage.
Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, can also be managed with infusion therapy. The medications reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and alleviate symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. Often these symptoms occur during a flare-up, but infusion therapy can keep the disease in remission.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in different areas, including the kidneys, blood cells, joints or nervous system. Infusion therapy uses drugs to regulate and suppress the immune system, alleviate inflammation and prevent organ damage associated with lupus.
Infusion therapy can prevent or treat bleeding episodes associated with hemophilia, a genetic blood clotting disorder. The drugs work to replace the missing clotting factor in the blood. Treatments can be done in an infusion center, or a healthcare professional can teach a patient to do them at home.
Certain types of anemia, such as iron deficiency anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, can be treated with infusion therapy. Iron or vitamin B12 supplements can be delivered intravenously to replenish deficient levels and restore red blood cell production. This is the best alternative for people unable to take iron pills or liquid orally.
Infusion therapy can help manage immune deficiencies. The drugs are administered to boost the immune system in patients who cannot eat or have impaired gastrointestinal function. The drugs deliver essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals directly into the bloodstream.
Infusion Center in Raleigh
At Personalized Hematology-Oncology, we offer an alternative to an impersonal hospital cancer center. We treat patients with a wide range of diseases at our state-of-the-art infusion center. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our care team to see if infusion medications are a treatment option for you.