Biological Therapy vs Chemotherapy

Biological Therapy vs Chemotherapy

Cancer — whether you or someone you love has received the diagnosis, you are well aware of how devastating it is. In addition to the severe pain and discomfort, you have to learn to deal with a long list of medications — both from the oral and chemotherapy varieties. You wonder how you’re going to tell the rest of the family, how you’re going to incorporate this new routine into your lives, and how it’s going to affect all of you emotionally. You want the best possible treatment, but with so many new medical terms on the table, it all gets confusing, fast. What is biological therapy? How is it different from chemotherapy? And, how do you know which one works best?

What is biological therapy?

Biological therapy — stimulates the immune system by either suppressing the over-response or activating it. Biological therapy treatment targets the parts of the immune system that are triggering inflammation causing diseases such as auto-immune disorders. Specific medications used for biological therapy include:

What is chemotherapy?

Cancer causes the body to reproduce cells in an uncontrolled fashion. Chemotherapy is a medication that interferes with the cancer cells’ ability to reproduce. It can be used on its own or in combination with other medications to target different types of cancer. Although it’s mainly used for cancer patients, it’s also a viable alternative for patients with autoimmune and/or bone marrow diseases. Chemotherapy is also used to shrink tumors before your physician attempts to remove it through surgery.

What’s the difference between biological therapy and chemotherapy?

Both forms of treatment are used to destroy cancer cells. The main difference is that biological therapies are derived from living organisms that can modify the immune response, while chemotherapy utilizes chemicals to destroy existing cancerous cells. There are also different types of each. Which one to administer depends on the patient’s medical history and type of illness that requires treatment.

As with any prescription medication, both forms of treatment carry a risk of a long list of side effects. They vary from one person to the next and may range from relatively mild to severe.

Side Effects of Biological Therapy

The list of the most common possible side effects of biological therapy include:

  • Swelling at the site where the IV was inserted
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin rash

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

The list of the most common possible side effects of chemotherapy include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss (or it may become thinner or brittle)
  • More bleeding than usual from small cuts
  • Infections
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Cognitive problems — chemotherapy may affect a person’s short-term memory, their ability to pay attention, and may cause mood swings and/or depression.

If Your Doctor Has Recommended Biological Therapy, Let Infusion Associates Help You

At Infusion Associates, we provide medically-prescribed infusion therapy for patients with chronic conditions in a welcoming and friendly environment. Our team of healthcare professionals is fully committed to making the experience as comfortable as possible for you or your patients. We always inform patients of any potential side effects and answer all their questions before starting treatment. In addition, we have a Registered Pharmacist on-staff to make the process as seamless as possible.

If you would like to refer a patient to us or want to inquire about the treatments we offer, you can contact us by calling us at (616) 954-0600 or filling out this form.