December 6, 2021

Infusion Therapy is More Than Just Chemotherapy

Specialty Infusion Blog Derick

If you or a loved one have ever had to start treatment for cancer, you are most likely already familiar with chemotherapy through infusion therapy. However, did you know infusion therapy also treats several other diseases and ailments? 

From Myasthenia Gravis and Crohn’s disease to psoriatic arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, infusion therapy is proving to be effective and efficient at managing many different medical conditions. 

We put together this article to explain infusion therapy, its benefits, what ailments it can treat, and what to expect when getting infusion treatments.

What is infusion therapy?

Infusion therapy refers to different kinds of medication or fluids that are administered through a 

needle or catheter, usually intravenously (IV). Healthcare professionals can also deliver it in other ways such as:

  • Under the skin 
  • Into the muscles 
  • Into the fluid around the spine (epidural)
  • Into a body cavity (like the abdomen)
  • Directly to a specific body part 

Certain drugs can’t be taken orally due to their decreased effectiveness when exposed to the digestive system. Infusion therapy is an alternative when there’s no other comparable oral therapy, or someone cannot take an oral form of the medication. It’s also a way of delivering medication that must be administered at a controlled pace.

Where do you go for infusion therapies?

  • Doctor’s office
  • Infusion clinic
  • In-home with the help of a visiting nurse
  • In the hospital

Infusion therapy for cancer treatment

Cancer treatment options, chemotherapy and immunotherapy, are often given by infusion. 

While some chemotherapy medications can be taken by mouth, many are administered through an IV. Infusion therapy allows the delivery of chemotherapy drugs to pass directly into your bloodstream slowly to lessen side effects. The IV also enables you to receive other medications, like anti-nausea drugs, without the need for more needles. 

Other cancer therapies, like immunotherapies, are made from monoclonal antibodies and given through an IV. Considered biologic drugs, monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that act as substitute antibodies to repair, improve or copy the immune system’s attack on cells. 

Other conditions infusion therapy is used for

In addition to cancer therapies, infusion and injection treatments are used for several other health concerns, illnesses, and diseases, such as :

Side effects of infusion therapy

Redness, swelling, and pain at the infusion site are common. However, if you experience any of the following while getting your infusion, let the nurse/IV administrator know immediately:

  • Itching, rashes, or hives
  • Swelling of any part of your body, including lips, eyelids, or tongue
  • A flush of redness in your face and neck
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Pain in muscles or joints

You may also experience side effects specific to the medication you’re receiving by infusion. Consult with your healthcare provider about these possible side effects. 

Final thoughts

Infusion therapy has been used for a long time by hospitals worldwide. However, it’s readily becoming available in outpatient healthcare settings and patients’ homes by specialized nurses/healthcare professionals who are professionally trained to administer these IVs. 

At Speciality Infusion Centers, we specialize in managing chronic conditions and work with you, your insurance carrier, and your healthcare doctor to provide a personalized treatment plan. Find the most convenient location for starting infusion therapy today.