Answering Some Of The Most Frequent Questions About Infusion Therapy
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of inflammatory joint diseases in America. 41 out of every 100,000 people in the US are diagnosed with this disease every year. In the past few years, a new type of RA medication has been developed. It belongs to the biological DMARD drug class and comes in injection or infusion form. Infusion isnt a common administration route for many medications. Thus, many RA patients may have some questions about this type of drug delivery route. In this blog, well answer some of the most common questions about infusion therapy for RA, including what to expect before, during, and after the infusion.
How Iv Infusion With Biologics Relieves Your Chronic Pain
Biologics are unlike other drugs. Where standard drugs are produced with chemicals, biologics are proteins created from living cells, such as plants, microorganisms, or animal cells.
When you have a rheumatic disease, numerous activities occur in your immune system that promote inflammation, pain, and ongoing joint damage.
Biologics are precisely engineered to target specific inflammatory cells, cellular interactions, and other activities in your immune system. The proteins that make up biologics act like your bodys own proteins, so they can alter the abnormal immune processes that occur in rheumatic diseases, change the results, and improve your symptoms.
These are a few ways that an IV infusion with biologics can alleviate your pain:
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce cells that activate lupus
- Increase elimination of uric acid
- Slow down an overactive immune system
- Block production of pro-inflammatory biochemicals
- Inhibit immune cell activity that causes inflammation
We offer IV infusion therapy that rebuild bone density in patients with osteoporosis.
Infusion Therapy For Rheumatoid Arthritis & More
IV infusion therapy is just one of the services we offer at Southland Rheumatology Center, and after thorough conversations with your rheumatologist, well be able to determine if IV therapy is right for you. We generally provide the following solutions for patients:
- IV infusion for osteoporosis
- IV infusion for rheumatoid arthritis
- IV therapy for athletes with inflammation
If youre struggling with any of the above, its time to consider IV therapy as a long-term solution to your pain, discomfort and loss of mobility. Reach out to us to learn more — Dr. Nayak and her team are happy to discuss your options with you!
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What About Other Medication Side Effects
As with any biologic drug, infusions carry a long list of potential side effects, some very serious. These are medications that affect the way your immune system works, so they can have a big impact.
Side effects of biologics can include injection site reactions, nausea, abdominal pain, and headache. One important side effect to watch for is infection from the common cold to more serious infections, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and fungal infections. In the long term, biologics can be associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, though this is rare.
Each drug has its own set of side effects, so you make sure you review these closely with your doctor. The likelihood of experiencing any side effects varies from person to person. Keep in mind that a scary-sounding list of potential side effects must be balanced with the important benefits of preventing inflammation, disease progression, and comorbidities.
Theres a lot you can do to protect yourself from infection risk while taking these medications. Eat a good clean diet, wash your hands frequently, try to get enough sleep, and avoid people who are sick. I dont want my patients to live in a bubble but I want them to be cognizant, says Dr. Domingues. If your partner has the flu, maybe they sleep on the couch that week.
Who Gets Rheumatoid Arthritis
The exact cause of RA is unknown, but there are certain risk factors. RA commonly begins between the ages of 30 and 60 in women and later in life in men. There are nearly three times as many women as men who suffer from the condition. While the majority of people with the disease have no family history of rheumatoid arthritis, there is evidence that autoimmune conditions, in general, can be hereditary. Therefore, having a family member with RA may increase an individuals chance of getting it.
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Does Infusion Therapy Hurt
You may feel like youre being pinched when the needle for the IV is put in, but once the infusion liquid starts to go in, you wont feel it flowing to your body. If the idea of needles or getting your hand/arm hooked to an IV makes you feel anxious, discuss it with your doctor. They may give you a drug, such as Benadryl, to help you relax during the infusion session.
Which Infusion Medications Will I Receive
Some of the most common biological drugs for infusion therapy are abatacept , golimumab , infliximab , rituximab , and tocilizumab . Talk with your doctor to decide which drug you will take. The decision will mainly be based on your diagnosis, your health history, how your immune system works against the drug, and your health insurance.
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Benefits Of Iv Infusion Therapy
Have you been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? If so, then theres a good chance your doctor or rheumatologist has put you on medication in an attempt to treat and manage your symptoms. Unfortunately, not everybody responds well to traditional arthritis treatment .
If you havent seen improvement from your current treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, the good news is that there are alternative options to consider. IV infusion therapy in the form of Rituximab can be used to treat symptoms and manage this form of arthritis.
What Is Biologic Infusion Therapy For Ra
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs are medications that can slow the progression of RA by suppressing the actions in your immune system that trigger the inflammation and resulting pain linked to the disease.
Biologics are a new type of DMARD. Unlike traditional DMARDs, such as methotrexate, which suppress the immune system in general, biologics offer a more targeted treatment approach.
Some biologics, for instance, target the T cells responsible for inflammation, while others attack B cells triggered by your immune system. Biologics are considered generally more effective overall than older drugs and can reduce the risks of potential side effects related to traditional DMARDs.
There are several different types of biologics available, some of which are delivered via injection. Other biologics must be administered by intravenous infusion, which we provide here at our West County Rheumatology office. Infusion therapy delivers the biologic directly to your bloodstream, which enhances its effectiveness and helps speed up the anti-inflammatory response.
For a treatment strategy that focuses on reducing your symptoms as it slows the progression of RA, schedule a visit with Dr. Kamat today. Call the office or book your appointment online.
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How Long Does An Infusion Take
It depends on the medication, but it can take from as little as 15 minutes up to eight hours. My Remicade infusion for my RA, for example, takes about three hours I have to come back every eight weeks. Psoriatic arthritis patient Rafen Norlisss infusion of Simponi takes 30 minutes. It depends on the amount of medication you receive and your tolerance. The amount of your infusion will depend on the manufacturer. Some medications have one standard dose and others depend on your weight.
Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis:
Multiple sclerosis symptoms differ greatly and often affect movement:
- Numbness or muscle weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time, or the hands, legs and trunk
- Tingling and burning sensations, numbness, and chronic pain with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward
- Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady balance
- Problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function
- Slurred speech
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Side Effects Of Infusion Therapy
As with any medication, there are potential side effects to infusion therapy with biologic DMARDs. These drugs work by inhibiting the immune system, an effect that can increase the risk of infections. The most common infections include:
- Upper respiratory infections
- Urinary tract infections
More serious infections can occur, especially in people who already have underlying conditions.
This administration of biologics can also lead to infusion reactions , which are most common after the first infusion. Most cases are mild and can be treated with antihistamines. Symptoms of an infusion reaction include:
- Chills or fever
- Changes in blood pressure
In some cases, treatment with Rituxan can lead to reactivation of viral infections that are dormant in the body, such as hepatitis B infection. This can be prevented by screening for hepatitis B before beginning treatment.
What To Expect During Infusion Therapy
The medication will be administered by injecting a needle attached to a small tube. This tube is connected to an IV bag with the solution. Once attached to your arm, the solution will slowly drip into your vein.
Each session can take several hours. However, at Infusion Associates, our staff is fully dedicated to making sure the experience is as comfortable as possible. You can bring a book or magazine, and receive infusions in a reclining chair. We also provide blankets, hot beverages such as coffee, tea, or hot cocoa and you can listen to music or watch a movie. You can also have the peace of mind that comes from having either a doctor or nurse practitioner monitoring the transfusion.
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What You Need To Know
Not all rheumatoid arthritis patients are viable candidates for this treatment. You should speak with a qualified rheumatologist about your options. While side effects do not tend to be severe, some patients report a drop in blood pressure following their treatments. If you are currently on a medication to control your blood pressure, your doctor may recommend that you stop taking it prior to your first IV infusion therapy appointment.
Generally, side effects of this treatment dissipate within the first 24 hours, but may include:
What Is Rituximab And How Is It Used
Rituximab is a type of drug, known as a biological therapy, that can reduce inflammation and damage to your joints. It’s also known by the trade names MabThera, Rixathon, Ruxience, and Truxima.
Normally, the immune system creates inflammation to protect the body from infections. But in some conditions a group of cells in the immune system, called B-cells, cause unnecessary inflammation which damages the bodys healthy tissue.
Rituximab works by lowering the number of these B-cells, to reduce inflammation, pain, swelling and joint damage. If rituximab works for you, you’ll probably start to feel some improvement after around six weeks.
Rituximab can be prescribed by a consultant rheumatologist for:
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Symptoms Of Pagets Disease Of The Bone:
People who have Pagets disease of bone typically have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, the most common complaint is bone pain.
Because this disease causes your body to generate new bone faster than normal, the rapid remodeling produces bone thats softer and weaker than normal bone, which can lead to bone pain, deformities and fractures.
The disease might affect only one or two areas of your body or might be widespread. Enlarged and misshapen bones can put extra stress on nearby joints, which may cause further pain and complications. Symptoms, depend on the affected part of your body.
- Pelvis. Pagets disease of bone in the pelvis can cause hip pain.
- Skull. An overgrowth of bone in the skull can cause hearing loss or headaches.
- Spine. When the spine is affected nerve roots can become compressed. This can cause pain, tingling and numbness in an arm or leg.
- Leg. As the bones weaken, they may bend causing you to become bowlegged.
How Long After The Infusion Will I Feel The Improvement
You wont feel the effect of the medication right away as infusion therapy doesnt work like painkillers. Some people may notice an improvement after getting the first infusion in the first couple of weeks, while others may feel it in months. Additionally, some people may not feel the progress after the first infusion session, but after the second, third, or even the fourth. Keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to the medications and it is important to stick to the treatment plan. Try your best to stay on the treatment schedule as it can influence the effectiveness of the medication.
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Book An Iv Rheumatology Therapy Appointment
If you are suffering from the effects of RA or another rheumatology condition, infusion therapy may be able to help. To learn more or to book your appointment, give IV Infusion Treatment Center a call at 954-248-3422. We have 4 South Florida locations Coral Springs, Kissimmee, Orlando, and Atlantis for your convenience.
Biologic Infusion Therapy Can Help
Biologic drugs work to reduce inflammation in your joints, relieving arthritis pain, and preventing joint damage. If you don’t see satisfying results after treatment with disease-modifying drugs like methotrexate, we may recommend infusion therapy. Biologics can also help with osteoporosis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Some of Medications for RA, SLE and Osteoporosis available as infusions are Orencia, Actemra, Remicade, Benlysta, Cimzia, Reclast and Prolia. Different medications target different functions and may need to be delivered on different schedules. Biologics can also come as injections that you can self-deliver at home.
We typically start your infusion therapy with once every 2 weeks treatment sessions. After a few rounds of treatment, you may be able to increase the spacing between your appointment to once a month or longer.
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What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Why Is Ra So Painful
Being an autoimmune disease, RA involves the body attacking itself, specifically the cartilage that protects our joints. Once that cartilage is gone, the body does not grow it again, leaving our bones free to rub against each other with every movement and causing swelling, pain, and inflammation. The nerves within and surrounding our joints are often affected by the lack of protection as well, adding to the patients suffering.
What Is Biological Treatment
Biological therapy treatment is a medication administered using an IV. Its the ideal solution for those who have issues taking medications orally or havent had the best results from medications and other treatments but dont want to risk surgery. Biological therapy treatment targets the parts of the immune system that are triggering inflammation causing joint and tissue damage. The most common biologic agents include:
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Infusions Every 8 Weeks After 3 Starter Doses
REMICADEÂ® is given as an intravenous infusion by a healthcare professional through a needle placed in a vein in your arm.
Given over a period of about 2 hours
Weeks 0, 2, and 6
After starter doses, 1 maintenance dose is infused every 8 weeks*
Your doctor will determine the right dosage of REMICADEÂ® for you and how often you should receive it.
*Your doctor can also adjust your dosage and/or dosing schedule if you are still experiencing joint symptoms. If your REMICADEÂ® dosage is increased, it is important to talk with your doctor about the increased possibility of infection.
Dmards For Rheumatoid Arthritis Infusion Therapy
- It belongs to a class of biologics that targets specialized immune cells known as B cells. In RA, B cells produce auto-antibodies that target and damage the healthy cells and tissues. Rituxan acts by preventing B cells from producing auto-antibodies.
- Rituxan is usually administered in two infusions, two weeks apart, for the initial course. To avoid undesired side effects, corticosteroids are administered through an intravenous route about 30 minutes before each Rituxan infusion.
- Infusions of Rituxan take three to four hours. However, you won’t see any changes for at least three months after treatment.
- Once treatment begins to work, the benefits can last for 6 to 12 months or longer. Rheumatologists may recommend that treatments must be repeated every six months.
- This biologic drug inhibits the binding of inflammatory proteins known as cytokines to immune cells that prevent the immune cells from becoming activated, lowering inflammation levels.
- Actemra can be used as a single agent or in combination with other DMARDs.
- It takes about an hour to complete the infusion. When compared with other infused biologics, it typically takes four to eight weeks to notice the drug’s effects.
- If a lower initial dose is ineffective, the dose can be increased. Moreover, it is available as a subcutaneous injection.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Infusion Therapy
Just like any biological drug, infusions may cause some side effects. Generally, mild side effects include injection site reactions , nausea, and headache . Some of the more serious side effects can include allergic reactions , increased risk of infection, blood clots in the lungs, tuberculosis, and trouble breathing.
Furthermore, each drug can cause different side effects and may not be suitable for certain people due to their medical history. Ask your doctor to review your health conditions and discuss the possible outcomes of taking a certain infusion medication before deciding the drug you will take.
Where Is Infusion Therapy Administered
Unlike injectable bDMARDs, you cant administer the drug on your own at home. You have to go to a hospital or an infusion clinic to receive infusion therapy medications. The facility provided in each infusion room may differ from one another, but they have one common goal: to make people feel comfortable while receiving their infusion medications.
In many infusion rooms, you may find recliners, blankets, pillows, and even a TV. You can sleep during the infusion period, watch your favorite TV shows, or work on your computer. If you want, you may also ask your loved ones to accompany you during the treatment.
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