When someone becomes sick, medication may be prescribed for treatment. Some individuals may have trouble swallowing or another malady which may make it difficult for them to take oral medications or to drink fluids. When this happens, doctors need to find another way for the patient to get the medications they need.
There are also certain medications that cannot be taken orally because they lose their effectiveness when they are exposed to the digestive system. One way to circumvent the digestive system is by injecting the medication directly into the veins or underneath the skin. This is known as infusion therapy.
What is infusion therapy?
Infusion therapy is an alternative method of administering medication through either a needle or catheter, usually into the veins (intravenously). Other forms of infusion therapy include:
Infusion therapy delivers medications such as antibiotics, biologics, corticosteroids, or growth hormones. It allows for controlled dosing, whether the medication needs to be administered slowly—such as chemotherapy—or quickly in emergency scenarios like stroke or heart attack.
Infusion therapy can also be used to provide the body with the necessary vitamins and minerals. Nutrients delivered intravenously go directly into the bloodstream and bypass digestion, allowing them to reach the cells that need it quicker.
Infusion therapy delivers medication directly into the bloodstream through a plastic tube called a catheter. A needle puts the catheter into a vein in the forearm or hand. Then the needle is taken out and the catheter remains in the vein. The drugs can be administered quickly through a catheter from a syringe in just a few minutes, or they can be delivered in one to several days using electronic IV pumps.
Infusion therapy can be used to treat autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be used to treat conditions such as Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Infusion therapy typically takes place in a clinical setting, such as a doctor’s office, hospital, or infusion center. However, some types of infusion therapy can be delivered in the home by a healthcare provider. The duration of each session will depend on the type of medication being administered, as well as your unique needs.
Depending on the type of therapy—for example, an IV infusion for chemotherapy—there may be a control mechanism that ensures the proper dose of the medication is delivered within the correct time frame. Most infusion therapy requires constant monitoring and you’ll usually be provided with a reclining chair and other items to help you feel comfortable for longer sessions.
You’ll probably have a lot of questions if it’s your first time undergoing infusion therapy, whether they’re about the procedure itself or the medication you’ll be receiving. Make sure you write down any questions for your healthcare team, which usually consists of registered nurses, so you can ask them ahead of time. Your healthcare team may also have specific instructions for you ahead of the session.
You’ll also want to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing so the care team can easily check your vitals. You may want to dress in layers in case of temperature changes, and you should bring a book or something else to keep you entertained and help pass the time.
During the session, a healthcare provider will insert a needle into your vein, usually in the arm. They’ll connect the needle to an IV bag using a tube, and the bag will hang from a pole to allow the solution to drip into your bloodstream. How long this takes will depend on the medication and your condition. If you need to use the bathroom during the session, you may need to take the IV pole with you. Once the session is finished, your healthcare provider will remove the catheter.
Yes! PACT is thrilled to offer infusion therapy in our brand new infusion center conveniently located in Hamden, CT. With 20 years of experience infusing biologics, we offer a full range of infusion services that are less expensive than hospital-based facilities.
At PACT Infusion Center, we offer the following medications:
To learn more about our infusion therapy services, or to schedule an appointment in our Hamden, CT center, please contact our office today.