Forgetting where you placed your car keys, calling a family member by the wrong name, or not remembering to grab milk at the grocery store are all common memory lapses that happen to most of us from time to time. However, if memory lapses become more frequent or affect your ability to do daily activities, you might be questioning if something else is going on, like Alzheimer’s

It can be easy to explain unusual behavior and memory issues as part of the aging process, especially for someone who seems physically healthy. If someone you care about is experiencing signs of Alzheimer’s, being empowered with as much information as possible can help guide you through managing each stage of the disease and help you offer support to your loved one. We put together this guide to help you understand Alzheimer’s disease and the treatment options currently available. 

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

The CDC defines Alzheimer’s Disease as a progressive brain disease that causes memory loss and slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Alzheimer’s may cause a person to become disoriented, get lost in familiar places, lose things frequently, or have trouble communicating.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type (60-80%) of dementia. Dementia is a syndrome that causes brain changes that continuously deteriorate cognitive, behavioral, and social skills. Ultimately, this loss of skills affects a person’s ability to function independently. 

Statistics and facts about Alzheimer’s Disease 

Some quick facts and statistics that are important to know about Alzheimer’s:

  • The life expectancy after initial diagnosis is between four to eight years. However, since the progression of the disease can vary, some people can live past 20 years. 
  • Alzheimer’s disease impacts the parts of the brain that control our thought, memory, and language.
  • In 2020, around 6 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s. That number is projected to hit at least 13 million by 2050. 
  • 1 out of every 3 seniors dies from Alzheimer’s. It’s the 6th leading cause of death in the senior population in the U.S. 
  • The average age of diagnosis is 80 years old. 
  • Early-onset or young-onset Alzheimer’s is a form of disease that affects people younger than age 65. Currently, it makes up 5% to 6% of people with Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • A majority of people with early-onset Alzheimer’s exhibit symptoms of the disease between 30 and 60 years old.

Symptoms and Complications of Alzheimer’s Disease 

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s get worse over time. However, this disease affects each person differently, so symptoms often vary. 

Common symptoms include:

  • Mental decline
  • Change in moods and behavior (becoming more aggressive, agitated, or irritable)
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Forgetting familiar places and people
  • Meaningless repetition of own words
  • Difficulty with self-care 

Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses slowly in three general stages: early, middle and late (sometimes medically referred to as mild, moderate, and severe). Just as symptoms vary from person to person, so does each patient’s rate progresses through the disease stages. 

Preclinical stage

Someone with Alzheimer’s has changes in their brain before they show any signs or symptoms. Referred to as the “preclinical” period of Alzheimer’s disease, this time can last for years. 

Early/Mild stage of Alzheimer’s

In the early or mild stage of Alzheimer’s, a person may still function independently but experience memory lapses regarding recent conversations, events, and appointments.  

Symptoms may not be obvious, but family and close friends may notice, and a doctor can identify signs using specific diagnostic tools.

Some challenges in the early stage include:

  • Coming up with the right word or name.
  • Remembering names when introduced to new people.
  • Having trouble completing tasks in social or work settings.
  • Trouble managing money
  • Not being able to recall recent reading material 
  • Losing or misplacing valuables 
  • Encountering an increased difficulty with planning or organizing

Middle/Moderate stage of Alzheimer’s 

Typically the longest stage and can last for many years; the middle stage shows more noticeable symptoms. Someone in this stage often has trouble expressing thoughts and performing everyday tasks without assistance due to damage to the brain’s nerve cells. This can lead to them confusing their words, getting frustrated or upset, and acting out. 

As Alzheimer’s progresses through the middle stage, the person will most likely require more frequent care.

Some challenges in the middle stage include:

  • Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness 
  • Compulsive or repetitive behavior 
  • Delusions/Hallucinations
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Needing help with activities like dressing and bathing
  • Lose track of surroundings and time
  • Getting lost or wandering more frequent
  • Trouble with urine and bowel functions

Late/Severe stage

In late stage Alzheimer’s, symptoms become severe. Those in the final stage lose the ability to respond to the environment around them, hold a conversation, and, ultimately, control their movement. 

As a person’s memory and cognitive skills deteriorate, significant personality changes usually occur, and they eventually need extensive, around-the-clock care.

Some challenges in the late stage include:

  • ​Lose awareness of their surroundings
  • No ability to recall current events or conversations
  • A dramatic decrease in physical skills (walking, sitting, and swallowing)
  • Difficulty communicating/loss of ability to speak coherently 
  • Increased risk of getting an infection, especially pneumonia

Treatment options available for Alzheimer’s Disease

There is no current cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, researchers and scientists have made remarkable strides in understanding more about the disease. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medications that fall into two categories:

  • Drugs that may impact the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Medication that may temporarily alleviate some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

Drugs that treat symptoms

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, cognitive symptoms worsen due to brain cells dying and lost connections among cells. It’s important to note that these drugs do not stop the damage to brain cells; instead, they can help lessen or better manage symptoms. 

The following medications can help treat symptoms related to memory and thinking:

  • Aricept®
  • Exelon®
  • Razadyne®
  • Memantine (Namenda®)
  • Donepezil and memantine (Namzaric®)

Alzheimer’s affects more than just memory and thinking; insomnia, agitation, aggression, anxiety, hallucinations, and delusions are also significant symptoms of the disease.  

The FDA has approved one drug to address insomnia in people living with Alzheimer’s:

  • Suvorexant (Belsomra®)

Anti-anxiety medications, anticonvulsants, and antipsychotics all have the risk of severe side effects for those with Alzheimer’s. Therefore they are usually prescribed for a short period of time and when symptoms become severe.  

Drugs that treat the progression of Alzheimer’s

Currently, only one FDA-approved medication is authorized to treat the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, ADUHELM™(Aducanumab).

By targeting the fundamental pathophysiology of the disease, this new drug can help reduce amyloid plaques, slowing down the cognitive and functional decline of people living with early Alzheimer’s. 

ADUHELM™ is administered to patients through 45 to 60-minute intravenous infusions (IV) once a month. The injection can be administered at hospitals or infusion therapy centers

Resources for the caregiver

Becoming a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s can be physically, emotionally, mentalyl, and financially taxing. The demands of day-to-day care, changes in family roles, coping with the progression, and decisions about placement in a care facility can cause caregiver burnout quickly.  

There are resources available to caregivers to empower and support them through this journey with their loved one. Here are some ways to find support and become well-informed about the disease:

  • Alzheimer’s Association – Local support groups, hotline, online tools, publications, and virtual library 
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs– Caregiver support, help to find home health, long-term, respite, hospice care for Veterans suffering from Alzheimer’s
  • Family Caregiver Alliance– Resources for online support groups, research, clinical trials, and tips for navigating through the disease
  • Caregiver Action Network’s Family Caregiver Toolbox– Tips and information on every aspect of caregiving and online support community with several forums. Noteworthy groups to look into: Alzheimer’s caregivers and caregivers coping with depression. 
  • Memory Cafe– Located in hospitals, libraries, senior centers, and other locations across the country, memory cafés support those with Alzheimer’s/dementia and their caregivers. Caregivers can find help battling social isolation and connect with others who are experiencing similar circumstances.

Good coping skills, a strong support system, respite care, and staying physically active are other ways caregivers can manage the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Final thoughts

Some of the most exceptional developments in medical science in recent years have shed light on the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease to offer millions of patients hope. A better understanding of the disease’s impact may lead to better treatments. Ongoing clinical trials are allowing scientists to develop and test several possible interventions to hopefully, one day, address the underlying disease process. 

As a result of the FDA’s approval of ADUHELM™, patients with Alzheimer’s disease now have a critical new treatment to help them potentially fight this challenging disease. At Specialty Infusion Centers, we provide the latest infusion and injection treatments, including ADUHELM™. Visit one of our conveniently located centers for all your infusion and injection needs.

If you take biologic medications like Remicade to treat a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition, you’ve probably heard of biosimilars from your physician or other healthcare providers. Biosimilars can be complex to understand, leaving you with many questions.

We put together this comprehensive guide of common questions and answers to better understand the differences between Remicade and biosimilars. 

(We always advise you to speak to your doctor before switching medications.)

What is a biologic medication?

Utilizing biotechnology, biologic medications are made from components that stem from human, animal or microorganism sources including sugars, proteins, DNA, whole cells, or tissue or other various elements of living things such as bacteria, birds, insects, mammals, and plants. 

Since biologics come from diverse sources that can be hard to identify, they are more complex than conventional drugs. In addition, once these drugs are formed, they also tend to be more unpredictable in how they can take effect and are more sensitive to light and temperature. 

With advances in the field of medicine, some biologics (gene-based and cellular) are now being used as treatments for many illnesses and diseases that may have previously otherwise had no treatment options available.

How do biologics work?

Depending on the disease and medication, biologics can:

  • Help manage the immune system’s signals involved in the inflammatory process that can lead to joint tissue damage 
  • Target certain proteins that encourage inflammation, help cancer cells grow, or play a role in developing psoriasis. 
  • Stimulate the immune system helping it work more effectively to fight infection

What is Remicade?

Remicade (infliximab) is a biologic prescription used to treat chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases by reducing the effects of substances in the body that can cause inflammation. These conditions include:

  •  rheumatoid arthritis
  •  psoriatic arthritis
  • ankylosing spondylitis (chronic inflammation of the spine and the sacroiliac joints)
  • plaque psoriasis in adults (severe or disabling cases)
  • ulcerative colitis (patients at least six years old)
  • Crohn’s disease (patients at least six years old)

This medication is given through intravenous infusions (IV), and dosage depends on the patient’s medical condition, weight, and response to treatment.

What are biosimilars?

Biosimilars are medications made using the same amino acid materials and specific processes as their reference drug. The reference drug refers to the well-tested, FDA-approved biologic drug that’s been on the market for years. The biosimilar presents with no significant differences in its safety or efficacy from the biologic product and is only available with a prescription from a healthcare professional. 

The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCI Act) of 2009 was created as an “abbreviated licensure pathway” for biological products to : 

  • provide more treatment options
  • increase access to lifesaving medications
  • possibly lower health care costs through competition

Are biosimilars the same as generic drugs?

No, they are not. Unlike generic drugs, biosimilars are not identical copies of their reference drugs. However, each biosimilar drug is manufactured by a complex process that includes the exact steps that were made to make the biologic medication. 

While the same process is followed, small changes are common from batch to batch since biosimilars are made from living cells. These variations are expected and acceptable because every lot is still required to meet the same high standards of purity, safety and efficacy as per the guidelines of the FDA.

What are the biosimilars to Remicade?

There are currently 3 FDA-approved biosimilars to Remicade in the United States; Inflectra, Reneflexis, and Avsola

Inflectra was the first biosimilar to Remicade, manufactured by Pfizer and released in April 2016. Renflexis was approved in April 2017 and Avsola was approved in December 2019, though it is unavailable. 

All three biosimilars belong to the class of drugs called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha inhibitors and work similarly to block TNF-alpha proteins that cause inflammation and swelling. Like Remicade, they are also given through an IV injection. 

Inflectra, Renflexis, and Avsola are used to treat the same conditions as Remicade, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis, and plaque psoriasis. 

These biosimilars are commonly used when other treatment options haven’t worked and can cost less than Remicade. 

Final Thoughts

At this time, Inflectra, Renflexis, and Avsola aren’t considered “interchangeable” by the FDA, meaning a pharmacist can’t switch someone from a biologic to a biosimilar without a prescription from a physician/healthcare provider. If you are currently on Remicade, and it’s not working, you may want to speak with your doctor about biosimilar options. 

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 you to start on your Remicade, Inflectra, or Renflexis IV therapy today. 

thyroid eye disease

What is thyroid eye disease?

Thyroid eye disease — also known as TED, Graves’ eye disease, or Graves’ ophthalmopathy — is a progressive autoimmune condition that occurs when the eyelids, fatty tissues behind the eyes, and the muscles surrounding them become inflamed. Thyroid eye disease develops in people with an overactive thyroid which results in excess thyroid hormone production. There are two phases to TED: the active phase, marked by inflammation, usually lasts from six months to two years; and the stable phase, where inflammation and other symptoms have subsided.

Eye problems result from the swelling of the tissue around the eye and in the eye socket behind the eye. This swelling causes exophthalmos, an abnormal protrusion of the eye, commonly associated with Graves’ disease. This swelling may also cause eyelid retraction. This can lead to exposure and infection of the cornea. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped “window” that lies directly over the eye’s pupil and iris. As a result, the eyes become red and swollen. In severe cases, you may experience bulging of the eyes and double vision. If the eyes are pushed forward too much, you may not be able to shut your eyes completely when blinking or sleeping. In a worst-case scenario, the inflammation may put pressure on the optic nerves behind the eyes — which could lead to blindness in the long term.

Thyroid eye disease usually occurs in people who have thyroid disease. Additional risk factors include:

Family history

Smoking (risk is reduced if you stop smoking)

Being middle-aged or older

Undergoing radioactive iodine therapy to treat hyperthyroidism

Treatment Options for Thyroid Eye Disease

Artificial tears may be used to treat mild symptoms, such as dry eye. If you have double vision, your eye doctor may recommend special lenses to help your vision. If you have swelling around the eyes, you may get a steroid medicine. It can help reduce the swelling. Or the doctor may talk to you about radiation or surgery for more serious eye problems. Radiation or surgery may help to treat problems in the muscles and tissues around your eyeball.

TEPEZZA (teprotumumab) is the only medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat thyroid eye disease. It reduces eye swelling, bulging, can correct double vision and improve vision in general. You’ll also experience less pain and redness from treatment. During clinical trials, patients noticed improvements within six weeks. TEPEZZA reduces the risk that a patient will have to undergo orbital decompression surgery, which is usually only considered once other treatments have failed.

TEPEZZA Side Effects

TEPEZZA has a risk of side effects in approximately 4% of patients. They may occur during treatment, or up to an hour and a half after the infusion has been completed. The most common ones include:

Muscle spasms

Muscle cramps

Nausea

Diarrhea

Fatigue

Hearing impairment

Headaches

Dry skin

Changes in taste

Hair loss

High blood sugar

If Your Doctor Has Recommended Infusion Therapy, Let Specialty Infusion Centers Help You

If you would like to refer a patient to us or want to inquire about the treatments we offer, you can contact us by calling us at (212) 2INFUSE or filling out this form.

The key to living with Crohn’s Disease, a chronic condition for which there is no cure, is to manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease by identifying the best treatment plan for you. Here we explain your options:

What is Crohn’s Disease?

First, what is Crohn’s disease? According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract and is one of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). Unfortunately, IBD affects an estimated 3 million Americans, and equally affects men and women. While the disease can occur at any age, often it is diagnosed in adolescents and adults between the ages of 20-30.

Treatment for Crohn’s must include a complete approach, incorporating medication, dietary and lifestyle changes. Here are several options that will help you best manage your condition.

Medication

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation suggests a medication regimen designed to treat Crohn’s disease by suppressing your immune system’s abnormal inflammatory response. This is what triggers your symptoms. Medication can offer relief from common symptoms like fever, diarrhea, and pain but it can also allow intestinal tissue to heal. Additionally, medication typically decreases the frequency of flare ups. This means that through proper treatment over time, which can often include a combination of therapies, periods of remission from Crohn’s symptoms can be extended while symptom flare ups will decrease.

Combination Therapy

Often, your treatment plan will include combination therapy. With Crohn’s, it’s common for a specialist to prescribe a biologic and an immunomodulator. While combination therapy can increase the effectiveness of IBD treatment, it also can increase the risks of additional side effects and toxicity.

Diet

It’s important to note what your individual trigger foods are—and avoid them. As discussed in our “How to Have a Crohn’s-friendly Holiday” blog, here are some general guidelines for minimizing triggers at mealtime:

  • Limit your intake of greasy foods
  • Decrease your fiber consumption
  • Keep dairy intake to a minimum
  • Avoid nuts and sweets
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently
  • Stay hydrated and drink lots of water
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation
  • Make sure vegetables are cooked through to make them more easily digestible
  • Limit spices

Remember, Crohn’s disease often reduces your appetite while increasing your body’s energy needs, so maintaining a healthy diet is highly recommended. Because one of the common Crohn’s symptoms is diarrhea, your body can have a reduced ability to absorb protein, fat, carbohydrates, and other key nutrients and minerals that your body needs.

Surgery

As many as 18 percent of people with Crohn’s disease will require surgery at some point during their lives. Surgery is still not a cure for Crohn’s; however, it can conserve portions of the GI tract, allowing for the best quality of life possible. If your medication and/or diet modifications no longer control your symptoms, or if you develop a fistula, fissure, or intestinal obstruction, surgery may be required. During surgery, the diseased segment of bowel is removed (resection). Then, the two remaining ends of the healthy bowel are joined together, also known as anastomosis. Again, this doesn’t cure Crohn’s. You may experience many years without flare ups, although Crohn’s frequently recurs again later in life.

Additional Help for Mental Health

Unfortunately, people living with chronic illnesses often suffer from mental health issues as a result. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “up to one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition have symptoms of depression.” Therefore, it’s highly recommended you find a way to find peace with your new journey. Here we explain how you can cope with your chronic illness.

Living with Crohn’s requires an individualized treatment plan that often includes medication, diet and lifestyle changes, and mental health care. Specialty Infusion Centers collaborates with your specialist to provide infusion therapy for Crohn’s based on your predetermined treatment plan. Our centers offer private suites, amenities, and flexible evening and weekend appointments. All you have to focus on is feeling better! Reach us to learn more or get started today

Psoriatic arthritis is caused by an immune reaction that affects your joints and skin. The actual cause of psoriatic arthritis is unknown, but medical experts believe it’s caused by a combination of environmental factors and genetics. Understanding this chronic illness is important in determining the best course of treatment for alleviating all the symptoms associated.

The Difference Between Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic illness where the swollen, sore joints of arthritis are typically combined with the skin condition psoriasis. Psoriasis can start at any age and typically causes itchy, scaly red patches on your skin and scalp.

How Many People Suffer from PsA?

More than 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, and 30 percent of these people will develop psoriatic arthritis. PsA can start at any age and can also affect children. However, it commonly appears between the ages of 30-50, and typically 10 years after someone develops psoriasis. But there are instances where someone is diagnosed with PsA without ever developing or experiencing psoriasis of the skin.

What are the Symptoms of PsA?

PsA may develop slowly, with mild symptoms. In other cases, it can appear quickly and severely. In some instances, people develop PsA in a joint after an injury. Additionally, scientists estimate that at least 10 percent of the general population inherits one or more of the genes that creates a predisposition to psoriasis.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the most common symptoms of PsA include:

  • Fatigue
  • Tenderness, pain and swelling over tendons
  • Swollen fingers and toes that sometimes resemble sausages
  • Stiffness, pain, throbbing, swelling and tenderness in one or more joints
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Morning stiffness and tiredness
  • Nail changes, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed
  • Redness and pain of the eye

Remember, there is little correlation between psoriasis and PsA severity. While you may have only a few skin lesions, many of your joints can be affected by arthritis.

Types of PsA

There are several different types of PsA:

  • Symmetric arthritis. Typically, this is when the same joints on both sides of the body are affected. For example, the right and left knees can experience PsA symptoms. It is similar to rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s often milder and usually affects five or more joints on both sides of your body.
  • Asymmetric arthritis. Often, this affects the fingers and toes first, and gives them an enlarged and sausage-like appearance. However, it won’t necessarily affect the same joints on both sides of the body, and it often only affects less than five joints.
  • Distal interphalangeal (DIP) predominant. This type of PsA affects the joints in the fingers and toes closest to the nail. Because of this, nail changes are a common symptom.
  • Spondylitis. Spondylitis PsA causes people with this disease to have stiffness in the neck, lower back, or spinal vertebrae. Often, this makes those who suffer from spondylitis PsA have difficult, painful motions.
  • Arthritis mutilans. Finally, this form of PsA affects the small joints at the ends of the hands and feet. Sadly, this is a very severe form, and it causes deformity.

How is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PsA. However, there are treatment options that help alleviate symptoms that include both the joint pain of PsA and also the skin condition. Your specialists (usually Dermatologists and Rheumatologists) will recommend a “treat to target” approach, so your treatment plan is based on collaboration and your individual condition. This allows your doctors to determine how to measure progress and allow you to select treatments that specifically focus on your personal goals. There are a variety of medications and therapies that have proven successful in managing symptoms for the varied levels of this condition:

  1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – over-the-counter medications
  2. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – administered orally or via injection or infusion
  3. Biologics – administered via injection or infusion
  4. Steroids – typically injected into the affected joint(s)
  5. Immunosuppressants – not used as commonly since the introduction of biologics
  6. Topical treatment – cream, gel, lotion, or ointment can be prescribed or purchased over-the-counter
  7. Light therapy and other PsA medications – specific medication injected under the skin followed by exposure to bright light treats psoriasis skin rashes

How We Can Help

At Specialty Infusion Centers, we believe understanding psoriatic arthritis and how it affects you is a critical part of your treatment plan. We specialize in the management of chronic conditions and fully collaborate with you, your insurance carrier, and your physician to provide a highly personalized care plan. Our centers are 5-star rated and offer private suites, amenities, and convenient evening and weekend appointments.

For more information, contact your specialist or reach us to get started today.

Did you know 1 in 2 women in the US over 50 will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in her lifetime?  Here’s what you need to know about treatment with Evenity® should you be diagnosed.    

What is Evenity®?

Evenity® is the brand name for romosozumab-aqqg, a drug often used in the treatment of osteoporosis. Evenity® is an anabolic treatment that’s unique in the sense that it is the first and only osteoporosis medication that works in 2 ways; to both build new bone, and to a lesser extent, slows down bone loss at the same time.

On April 9, 2019, Amgen received FDA approval for Evenity® for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women at high risk for fracture, defined as a history of osteoporotic fracture, or multiple risk factors for fracture; or patients who have failed or are intolerant to other available osteoporosis therapy.

How it Works

So, how does Evenity® work? It works with the body’s natural ability to increase bone formation and, to a lesser extent, decrease bone resorption.  Evenity® is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds and inhibits sclerostin, a regulatory factor in bone metabolism.  This makes it different from commonly used osteoporosis drugs called bisphosphonates (such as alendronate, aka Fosamax), which block the osteoclasts that break down bone tissue but don’t cause new bone to form.

What this means to you is that this treatment will not only slow the breakdown of bone in your body, but it will also spur new bone growth equaling less pain and reduced risk of fracture.

How Do You Take Evenity®?

Evenity® is the only bone-building treatment given over 12 months. Each dose consists of 2 shots given under your skin every month at your doctor’s office or at an infusion and injection therapy center like Specialty Infusion Centers!  It is also recommended to take calcium and vitamin D as your doctor advises while you are receiving Evenity® injections.

The 2020 AACE/ACE guidelines state Evenity® should be considered as initial therapy for patients with any of the following: 

  • Recent fracture (within the last 12 months)
  • Fractures while on osteoporosis therapy
  • Multiple fractures
  • Fractures while on drugs causing skeletal harm
  • T-score < −3.0
  • Very high fracture probability
  • High risk for falls or history of injurious falls

Side Effects

As with any medication, some patients may experience some side effects. The most common side effects occurring ≥5% of the time or more were joint pain and headache.  Possible more serious side effects include: 

  • Serious allergic reactions including rash; hives; swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat which may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing.
  • Low calcium levels in your blood (hypocalcemia) which can cause symptoms such as: spasms, twitches, or cramps in your muscles; numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes or around your mouth.
  • Severe jaw-bone problems (osteonecrosis) may occur. 
  • Unusual thigh bone fractures – symptoms of this type of fracture include new or unusual pain in your hip, groin, or thigh.

Call your healthcare provider or get emergency help right away if you have symptoms for any of the side effects listed above. 

To get the full benefits of Evenity®, it’s important to complete all 12 doses. After finishing, your doctor may transition you to a follow-up osteoporosis treatment. For more information on what you should know about Evenity®, speak with your medical team. To learn more or start your Evenity® treatment at Specialty Infusion Centers, CLICK HERE.  

On June 7, 2021, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accredited approval for Biogen’s drug ADUHELM™ for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

ADUHELM™ was given approval using the accelerated approval pathway. When a drug can be used for a severe or life-threatening illness that provides a significant therapeutic advantage over existing treatments, the FDA can approve it faster. Accelerated approval of a drug can be based on a drug’s predicted results using a marker or measurement that is thought to predict clinical benefit but is not a measure of clinical benefit. 

Alzheimer’s Overview 

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, irreversible brain disease that causes the brain to shrink (atrophy) and brain cells to die, destroying a person’s memory and other vital mental functions. It also accounts for 60%-80% of dementia cases, a continuous decline in cognitive symptoms, such as memory loss, confusion, and declining reasoning skills that affect a person’s ability to function effectively and independently.

Prevalence Rate

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that “6.2 million people of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease in the United States”. Other quick facts about this disease:

  • By 2050, this number is projected to hit 13 million.
  • People are usually affected in their mid-60’s and older, although there are cases of early-onset. 
  • More than 1 in 9 people (11.3%) age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The percentage of people with Alzheimer’s dementia increases with age: over 34% of people ages 85 and older have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Causes of Alzheimer’s

There is no single cause of Alzheimer’s. The disease possibly occurs as a result of multiple factors, such as genetics, lifestyle, and environment. Alzheimer’s isn’t a normal part of aging. However, the most significant known risk factor is increasing age. 

Symptoms 

In the early stages, memory loss is mild. People may have some difficulty for example, recalling an event, finding the right words or they may misplace an item.

As Alzheimer’s advances, symptoms become more pronounced. Often there are changes in a person’s mood and behavior. A person may start to feel withdrawn and experience delusions, which can cause them to become distrustful of others. They may even grow violent and become unfamiliar with their surroundings. It is common for them to require more help with everyday tasks. 

In the later/end stages, the symptoms become more severe. In addition to increasing memory loss, people also lose much of their ability to communicate and have difficulty swallowing and walking. The need for around-the-clock care is often the case as they become more reliant on help with daily activities and personal care. 

Prognosis

Sadly, Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. A person with Alzheimer’s lives on average, 4 to 8 years after their initial diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors.

Aspiration Pneumonia (caused by inhaling food or drink into the lungs), falls, infections, malnutrition, and dehydration are all common causes of mortality in Alzheimer’s cases.

ADUHELM™ Overview 

ADUHELM™ represents the first FDA-approved therapy to address the underlying biology of Alzheimer’s and has been the only new treatment approved for the disease since 2003. 

By targeting the fundamental pathophysiology of the disease, this new drug can help reduce amyloid plaques, therefore, slowing down the cognitive and functional decline of people living with early Alzheimer’s. 

How Does ADUHELM™ Work to Treat the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

The active ingredient in ADUHELM™ is aducanumab-avwa. 

In Alzheimer’s disease, protein pieces called beta-amyloid clump together to form plaques in the brain. The plaques obstruct nerve signals within the brain, stimulating the immune system, and triggering brain inflammation.

The active ingredient, aducanuman-avwa in ADUHELM™ binds to the beta-amyloid plaques, stimulating the immune system to help disband the plaques and eliminate them. In clinical trials, patients taking ADUHELM™ showed a reduction in their amyloid-beta plaques, signifying that the drug can work as a potential treatment for the disease. 

ADUHELM™ IV Administration 

ADUHELM™ is administered to patients through 45 to 60-minute intravenous infusions (IV) once a month. The infusion can be administered at hospitals or infusion therapy centers

Side Effects 

Common side effects of ADUHELM™ found in the clinical trials included ARIA-E (swelling in the brain) and ARIA-H (small hemorrhages on the brain). While ARIA usually doesn’t have any symptoms, it can be severe. Swelling and small spots of bleeding on the brain are often temporary. Still, some people may experience: 

  • headaches
  • confusion/altered mental status/disorientation
  • dizziness
  • vision changes
  • falls
  • diarrhea
  • nausea.

When taking ADUHELM™, you should also look out for signs of allergic reactions, such as hives and swelling of the face, eyes, lips, mouth, and tongue. 

As a result of the FDA’s approval of ADUHELM™, patients with Alzheimer’s disease now have a critical new treatment to help them potentially fight this challenging disease. At Specialty Infusion Centers, we provide the latest infusion and injection treatments, including ADUHELM™. Visit one of our conveniently located centers for all your infusion and injection needs.

How did medical practitioners begin performing infusions? Here is the history of infusions.

While infusion pumps are a new invention, intravenous therapy began in the Middle Ages. The first infusion device was successfully created by Oxford scientist Sir Christopher Wren in 1656 from a pig’s bladder and a writing quill. While successful, Wren found the device to lack durability and was difficult to secure. Wren garnered a reputation as the Father of Intravenous Therapy because of this.

In 1662, Johann Major was the first to successfully infuse humans. Major’s work involved both blood transfusion and the injection of medicinal substances. Unfortunately, many deaths resulted in Major’s work because of infection at the infusion site.

In 1665, Richard Lower saved an animal’s life by performing a blood transfusion from another animal.

Two years later, Jean Baptise Denis infused lamb’s blood into a 15-year old boy. While the boy survived, Denis would perform the procedure again on another man, who died.

Because of this, Denis was tried for manslaughter. He was acquitted, but the Edict of Chatelet banned all transfusions without the approval of the Paris Faculty of Medicine. Both Rome and England followed suit.

In the 1830s, Dr. Thomas Latta discovered that injecting salty water into a patient’s bloodstream had a measurable impact on fighting cholera, which removes water from the bloodstream. During this same period, Dr. James Blundell proved that transfusing animal blood into humans was unsafe. Only human blood can be transferred into humans.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the Luer Company developed the Luer connection, which is still used today. This allows the head of the hypodermic needle to be easily attached and detached. In 1900, Karl Landsteiner identified four main classifications for human blood, thus proving not all human blood is alike.

Rapid advancements in infusion therapy came in 1914. Sodium citrate was found to prevent blood from clotting. Dextrose was used as an infusant in 1925. In 1930, infusions were switched from open containers to vacuum-sealed glass bottles. Ten years later, nurses were allowed to administer infusions. Before 1940, only doctors were permitted to perform infusions.

1960 marked the year when infusion pumps became standard in all hospitals!

 
As you can see, the history of infusions shows the tremendous progress the field has made. At Specialty Infusion Centers, we provide the latest infusion treatments and first-class patient care. Visit one of our centers conveniently located near you for all your infusion needs.

What is the importance of hydration before your infusion? Here we explain how proper hydration benefits you.

 

Most Americans are Dehydrated

Here’s a scary thought—doctors say that 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. So, three out of four people aren’t getting enough water. Proper hydration is vital to health. Drinking enough water everyday helps achieve the following:

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Keeps joints lubricated
  • Prevents infections
  • Delivers nutrients to cells
  • Helps organs properly function

In fact, proper hydration improves sleep quality, cognition, and your overall mood. So grab a glass of H2O. You’ll thank yourself for it.

 

Increases Blood Volume

Also, the importance of hydration before your infusion is critical for both patients and healthcare workers. Drinking enough water increases blood volume. This makes veins more prominent, so the nurse practitioner has an easier time getting a line started. Obviously, this helps improve the overall experience you have as a patient.

 

Important During the Summer

In the summer, being hydrated is especially important. People are constantly sweating. Unfortunately, this can cause dehydration without you even realizing. And, if you perform any vigorous activity, you’ll need to drink water even more. Again, you need to be properly hydrated before your appointment so the nurse practitioner can easily find the vein.

 

Help Prevent Side Effects

Finally, drinking water benefits you because it can help prevent side effects. Often, patients can experience fatigue and/or headaches after an infusion. Proper hydration can help prevent this.

 
At Specialty Infusion Centers, we provide complimentary snacks and beverages to ensure your infusion experience is relaxed. So, make sure you are properly hydrated before your infusion, and we’ll be sure to make your infusion as comfortable as possible.

Picture showing IV drip and injection

A lot of patients ask, “Why are some medications given IV or injected?” Here we explain.

 

The Background on the Medications

First, let’s start with the background about the medications. According to the FDA, “biologics” include a wide range of products like vaccines, allergenics, recombinant therapeutic proteins, and more. Often, they are composed of sugars, proteins, nucleic acids, or a combination of these substances.

 

How Oral Medications Work

Typically, medications are taken orally. This route – which refers to the method of taking medicine – involves a pill, capsule, or liquid form of the medicine. Then, the medication is broken down in either the stomach or intestines, similar to how food is broken down, and absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. After, the medicine passes through the liver before entering the bloodstream. Finally, it circulates to the site where it’s needed.

Through this process, the concentration of the drug is reduced because a fraction of the drug is lost when absorbed through the GI tract and metabolized in the liver. This is call first pass metabolism and is associated with taking medication orally.

Alternatively, medications given IV are what we call 100% bioavailable, because no drug was lost through any type of metabolism. The drug can get to the site where it’s needed directly through the bloodstream completely bypassing the GI tract.

 

How This Affects Your Treatment

So, how does this relate to why are some medications given intravenously? Not only are IV medications 100% bioavailable, it also needs to be given IV to bypass the GI tract as these medications are delicate molecules. If they are taken orally, our stomach acid would break them down before they ever got to the site they are needed.

 

Why Specialty Infusion Centers

At Specialty Infusion Centers, we offer many infusion options for your treatment needs. Our flexible scheduling means we’re open seven days a week and provide evening hours. And, we make sure to provide a world-class experience in state-of-the-art suites. During your treatment, we provide free snacks, drinks, Netflix, WiFi, and other amenities to offer you a serene environment.

Finally, our highly skilled clinical team is trained to expertly administer treatment and handle any type of infusion or injection reaction that may arise. We also stay in constant contact with your healthcare team, updating your provider after each infusion and carrying out specific requests, such as lab work. So, come to Specialty Infusion Centers for all of your medication infusion needs.