What is Infusion Therapy?

Some drugs can’t be taken orally or lose effectiveness when exposed to the digestive system. Others must be delivered slowly or reach the bloodstream as quickly as possible in a life-threatening situation. Under these circumstances, infusion therapy is usually the best course of action. If you require insulin, fluids, chemotherapy drugs, or other IV-type medications, learn more about how infusion therapy works before your first treatment at Tri-County Health Care.

What is infusion therapy?

Infusion therapy, or IV therapy, is administering a drug intravenously. In other words, it involves injecting medication with a sterile needle or catheter inserted directly into a vein. The term also refers to drugs injected into the spinal cord, such as an epidural, or just under the skin, such as a subcutaneous insulin pump.

Common entry points for IV therapy include a vein in the crook of the arm or back of the hand. A surgically implanted catheter in the chest is another suitable entry point. An infusion therapy session may last less than one hour or up to three hours, depending on the drug and the treatment condition. In many cases, a bag or bottle containing the medication hangs from a nearby stand to ensure a controlled delivery rate. Drugs can also be administered manually with a syringe or infusion pump.

Who needs IV therapy?

In a hospital setting, IV therapy is effective when a patient cannot take oral medication. It’s also commonly used when intravenous delivery is more effective. When treating certain diseases and infections, therapy must continue after discharge from the hospital or may even initially begin as an outpatient treatment.

Here are several medications that infusion therapy can deliver and the conditions they treat:

  • Chemotherapy drugs treat cancer
  • Immune-suppressing drugs treat certain autoimmune diseases
  • Blood pressure support medication treats severe congestive heart failure that is unresponsive to conventional maintenance therapy
  • Thrombolytic drugs treat heart attacks or stroke
  • Fluids combat dehydration
  • Antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals treat serious infections that don’t respond to oral medication
  • Narcotics control pain
  • Insulin treats diabetes
  • Epinephrine treats anaphylactic shock
  • Biologics treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Receptor blockers treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • Blood clotting factors treat hemophilia
  • Iron infusions combat iron deficiency
  • Medications treat migraines
  • Corticosteroids treat multiple sclerosis
  • Platelet-rich plasma treats osteoarthritis
  • Bisphosphonates treat osteoporosis
  • Donated blood facilitates blood transfusions

If you’re looking for infusion services, Tri-County Health Care can help! Our clinics feature an experienced team of registered nurses ready to administer your treatment in a private room with a cozy, home-like feel. Rest assured that we’ll make your time with us as pleasant and anxiety-free as possible. To learn more about our infusion therapy services, call 218-631-3510.

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