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Infusion Therapy: What Is It & Conditions It Treats

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Understand what infusion therapy is, how it works, and some of the conditions it can be used to treat and/or manage.


There are many reasons why a person might require or prefer the administration of medication via infusion treatment (rather than orally). 

Whatever the reason might be, it’s important to understand what infusion therapy is, how it works, and some of the conditions it can be used to treat and/or manage. 

What is infusion therapy?

Infusion therapy is a treatment option where medications or fluids are passed via a needle or catheter directly into the body. This delivery method is often used when a patient cannot take medication orally, when the drug needs to be dispensed at a controlled pace, and/or when the stomach acids might destroy the drug.

For example, some drugs lose effectiveness when exposed to the digestive system. Also, some people cannot take oral medications due to certain medical conditions.

Infusion therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, ranging from infections to cancer.   

There are different types of infusion therapy, depending on the medication being delivered and the medical condition being treated.

  1. Intravenous infusion therapy
    This is the most common. Medications are delivered directly into the bloodstream through a needle or catheter.

  2. Subcutaneous infusion therapy
    This form of infusion therapy delivers medications just under the skin.

  3. Epidural infusion therapy
    Here, medications are delivered directly to the spinal cord.

One of the benefits of infusion therapy is that it allows for controlled dosing. Some types of chemotherapy, for example, need to be delivered slowly into the bloodstream. Additionally, some drugs need to reach the bloodstream quickly in life-and-death situations, such as anaphylactic shock, heart attack, poisoning, or stroke.

What conditions does infusion therapy treat?

Medical infusion therapy (meaning not hydration, nutrition, or detoxification iv therapy) can be used to treat and/or manage a variety of conditions, including Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

It can also be used for congestive heart failure, cancer, and certain infectious diseases. 

How does infusion therapy work?

Location

Although outpatient infusion is common (at a dedicated infusion center like Local Infusion, for example), it can also be administered in an inpatient setting or directly in the home with certain healthcare providers.  

Process

During infusion therapy, a needle or sterile catheter is inserted into a vein, and the medication is delivered directly into the bloodstream. This allows the drug to be absorbed more quickly and effectively than if it were taken orally. 

Length of treatment

The length of each treatment depends on the medication used and the individual’s condition. Some treatments may only take a few minutes, while others may last several hours. Most people can go about their normal activities after treatment, although some may need to rest for a short while.

Side effects

Side effects vary based on the medication and condition; however, for common conditions (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis), they are typically mild and may include redness or pain at the injection site. More severe side effects are possible but rare.

What are the benefits of infusion therapy?

  • Delivering medication to those who cannot take pills orally 
  • Administering larger doses of medication than what can be taken orally
  • Helping the medication stay in the body longer
  • In certain cases, providing faster, more effective relief than oral medications 
  • May relieve symptoms for longer periods of time 

How does LI approach infusion therapy?

At Local Infusion, we believe infusion therapy should be simple, comfortable, and convenient. That's why we offer a dedicated Infusion Guide to support you through every step of the process, from your first infusion session to financial guidance and assistance. 

Our state-of-the-art centers are thoughtfully designed with your comfort in mind, with private suites and evening and weekend appointments available, and we've simplified the onboarding process to take less than two minutes of your time. Plus, we offer upfront pricing and financial assistance support to help minimize your costs.

Please contact us if you're interested in learning more about how Local Infusion can help you. We're always happy to chat. You can also learn more about our referral process.

The bottom line

Infusion therapy can be an effective and lifesaving treatment method for various conditions. However, it’s crucial to understand how the treatment works and what to expect before starting therapy. Speak with your healthcare or wellness provider about infusion therapy's potential benefits and risks before starting treatment.

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