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You have been informed by your healthcare provider that you will need to receive intravenous (IV) infusions of a medication to treat your health condition.
The treatment for many conditions relies on medications administered by IV infusion therapy.
How do I prepare for the infusion?
Below are a few helpful suggestions to help you create a pleasant and healing experience.
- The first and most important step is to replace confusion with confidence.
- Make a list of questions that pertain to your health condition or questions about your medication and infusion to review with your healthcare practitioner. It may be necessary to make an appointment to review all of your questions.
- Learn about the infused medication. There are many places to obtain information about your medication. Discuss the medication(s) with your doctor. Pharmaceutical companies often provide information in the offices and on the Internet for patients and their families. There may also be medical books written about your medication or health condition.
- Visit the Infusion Center and meet the medical staff before your first infusion.
Check with your healthcare practitioner or the staff at the infusion center for any pre-infusion instructions. Some examples may include:
- Drink plenty of water to be sure you are well hydrated. If you have a heart condition, kidney condition or any other health condition that prevents you from drinking large amounts of fluid, check with your healthcare practitioner for instructions on how to hydrate before your infusion procedure.
- Some infusions may require that you pre-medicate with medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Check with the infusion staff regarding any pre-medications you need to take prior to your infusion, the dose, and the best time to take the medications.
- Wear comfortable loose fitting clothes. You will want to be comfortable, and most likely your vital signs will monitored (for example, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate (breathing rate), or a cardiac monitor may be attached to your chest). Every infusion center is different, so check with yours in regard to what to expect. Wearing loose fitting clothes allows the medical staff to easily and properly monitor your vital signs.
- Consider wearing clothing with layers to allow for temperature control. The temperature of the infusion center may be cool or warm; also some intravenous infusions can make you feel either warm or cool. Having layers of clothing allows you the flexibility to easily control your comfort zone.
- Most infusion centers will provide blankets, pillows, water and coffee. Check to see what the center provides in case they do not offer something that will make you more comfortable.
- Do not wear any fragrance or perfume, other patients may be allergic.
- Bring a complete list of current medications, allergies, and emergency contact information for the infusion staff to add to your chart.
What are some things I can do to pass the time while receiving therapy?
Things to take or do:
- Crossword puzzle or Suduko game
- Hand held games - (if they are quiet or have headphones)
- Bring your own music (I-pod or MP3 player)
- A neck pillow - the type used on airplanes
- Pictures of your family or loved ones
- Study for that upcoming test
- Bring your computer and get some work done, watch a movie, or play games.
- Snacks and a drink (if allowed in the infusion room)
- Bring paper and pen - make a list of things you need to do
- Write a letter -a letter of encouragement - of love - of thanks.
- Catch up on paper work
- Plan a party
- Make your shopping list
- Draw or doodle
- Plan a trip
- Take a nap
PLEASE DO NOT TALK ON YOUR CELL PHONE - Place your phone on vibrate mode or turn it off. This is not a time for talking on the phone (unless you have an OK from the infusion staff).
Arrive at the infusion center with a:
- Positive attitude (you are in good hands).
- Personal affirmation - Find one that feels good and energizes you. For example: "I have the perfect medicine...at the perfect time...I am healing."
- Sit back and relax
What happens during and after the infusion?
- Ask questions and notify the staff immediately if you are not feeling "right" or have a concern.
- Consider talking with someone in the Infusion Center receiving treatment. They may have some advice about their health condition that will help you. You may meet a new friend.
- After your infusion is completed, ask for any important post infusion instructions.
- You may need to take post-infusion medications. Check with your healthcare practitioner or the infusion staff for detailed instructions.
- A dressing will be placed in the area where your infusion was done. This dressing should be kept in place for at least 30 minutes or longer. If you are on a blood thinner, leave the dressing in place longer to avoid any bleeding. Check with the staff at the Infusion Center in regard to the length of time necessary to keep the dressing in place.
- If you have an allergy to tape, inform the infusion staff (advise them of all allergies).
- Obtain a phone number to call in the event that you have any questions or possible side effects to the medication you receive (such as a fever or rash) after your infusion has been completed.
Be confident that you are receiving excellent care!
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What are some of the conditions that are treated with an IV drug infusion?
Examples of conditions treated with IV infusion include:
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Behcet's disease
- Common variable immunodeficiency
- Crohn's disease
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Ulcerative colitis
- Wegener's granulomatosis
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Maddox, Ray R., et all. "Intravenous Infusion Safety Initiative: Collaboration, Evidence-Based Best Practices, and “Smart” Technology Help Avert High-Risk Adverse Drug Events and Improve Patient Outcomes." National Institutes of Health.
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Behcet's SyndromeBehçet's syndrome is a disease characterized by three symptoms:
- genital ulcers,
- recurring mouth ulcers,
- and inflammation around the pupil of the eye.
- and bowels.
Crohn's DiseaseCrohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms.
Guillain-Barre SyndromeGuillain-Barré Syndrome is an autoimmune disease of the nervous system due to damage to the myelin sheath around nerves. It is the most acquired nerve disease (neuropathy) and usually follows a virus infection but can also be associated with immunizations, surgery, and childbirth. The cause is unknown but appears to be related to autoimmune reaction. Symptoms include weakness beginning in the legs and progressing upward, lost reflexes, and in severe cases breathing can be affected. Patients can expect a slow but progressive recovery over several months maintaining vital functions and passively exercising the muscles. Plasmapheresis (removing toxic substances from the blood) has been shown to improve outcome and shorten the disease as well as intravenous immunoglobulin.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) annually affects one child in every thousand. There are six types of JRA. Treatment of juvenile arthritis depends upon the type the child has and should focus on treating the symptoms that manifest.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage results in symptoms that may include numbness, weakness, vertigo, paralysis, and involuntary muscle contractions. Different forms of MS can follow variable courses from relatively benign to life-threatening. MS is treated with disease-modifying therapies. Some MS symptoms can be treated with medications.
OsteoporosisLearn about osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of bone fracture. Unless one experiences a fracture, a person may have osteoporosis for decades without knowing it. Treatment for osteoporosis may involve medications that stop bone loss and increase bone strength and bone formation, as well as quitting smoking, regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol intake, and eating a calcium- and vitamin D-rich balanced diet.
PsoriasisPsoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
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Psoriatic ArthritisPsoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms and signs include painful, stiff, and swollen joints, tendinitis, and organ inflammation. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medications and exercise.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease. The 16 characteristic early RA signs and symptoms include the following.
- Both sides of the body affected (symmetric)
- Joint deformity
- Joint pain
- Joint redness
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Joint tenderness
- Joint warmth
- Loss of joint function
- Loss of joint range of motion
- Many joints affected (polyarthritis)
RA SlideshowWhat is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about treatment, diagnosis, and the symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes and the best medication for RA and JRA.
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE)Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Ulcerative ColitisUlcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the colon. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Ulcerative colitis is closely related to Crohn's disease, and together they are referred to as inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment depends upon the type of ulcerative colitis diagnosed.
Granulomatosis With PolyangiitisGranulomatosis with polyangiitis is a condition that usually affects young or middle-aged adults, is an inflammation of the arteries supplying blood to the sinuses, lungs, and kidneys. Symptoms of granulomatosis with polyangiitis include bloody sputum, fatigue, weight loss, joint pain, sinusitis, shortness of breath, and fever.
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis may be fatal within months without treatment. Treatment aims to stop inflammation with high doses of prednisone and cyclophosphamide.