Being diagnosed with any chronic medical condition can be disconcerting. By the very nature of the illness, you’re aware that it will continue affecting your life for years to come — and in the case of NMOSD (Neuromyelitis Optica spectrum disorder), for a lifetime. You experience pain, discomfort, and a diminished quality of life. And, when the condition is rare, it’s sometimes difficult for people to understand what you’re going through. Adding insult to injury, when it comes to illnesses such as NMOSD, you may find that oral prescription medications aren’t providing any relief. When such is the case, what can you do? Is there any hope to alleviate symptoms? Infusion therapy may be the answer.
What is NMOSD?
Neuromyelitis Optica spectrum disorder is a rare autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the central nervous system and damage to the optic nerves and spinal cord. In its earlier stages, it is sometimes confused with multiple sclerosis. Symptoms of the illness include:
- Pain in the spine and/or limbs
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Sensory loss
- Muscle weakness
- Stiff neck
- Painful muscle spasms
- Vision loss in one or both eyes
- Mild to severe paralysis of the legs
Within five years of developing the condition, about 30% of patients need a cane to walk, 50% of patients need a wheelchair, and more than half are functionally blind. The causes of the condition are unknown. However, people with NMOSD typically have excessive amounts of Interleukin-6 (IL-6), a protein produced by the immune system. This causes a harmful antibody called AQP4–igG, which targets cells in the optic nerve, spinal cord, and brain.
How can infusion therapy help NMOSD patients?
NMOSD can be treated intravenously with Rituxan and Soliris. Infusion therapy is more efficient than oral drugs because the medication is administered directly into the bloodstream. As a result, there’s a higher absorption rate by the body and the patient experiences faster relief. Infusion therapy can also prevent future relapses, significantly improving your quality of life.
Infusion therapy also offers a practical alternative for patients whose underlying medical conditions make it difficult — and sometimes impossible — to take medications orally. It also provides hope for people who have not obtained any relief from oral medications.
Are there any side effects of infusion therapy?
Yes. Most prescription medications come with the risk of side effects — and infusion therapy is not the exception. One of the most common risks includes an infection at the site where the IV is inserted into your arm. Another hazard includes the IV becoming dislodged from the vein during infusion. The best way to prevent these issues from occurring is to have an experienced healthcare professional monitor the infusion throughout its duration. At Infusion Associates, you’ll always have a physician or nurse monitoring your treatment.
What to Expect With Infusion Therapy
When you arrive at one of our locations, you’ll meet with one of our healthcare providers, who will thoroughly explain the treatment process. This includes possible side effects from the medication, treatments to address said side effects, your dosage amount, and the duration of the infusion. You’ll also have this time to ask any questions you may have. If you have a loved one who wants to come with you — whether to offer company or support — you’re welcome to bring them along.
One of the things you’ll notice immediately is that we are very different from a hospital setting. We understand that you may be feeling uncomfortable. Therefore, we strive to make our facilities as inviting and comfortable as possible. This includes having reclining chairs, television, WiFi, and magazines. We also provide blankets, hot cocoa, coffee, and tea. If you prefer, you can also bring your own snacks and drinks. Your loved one can also hang out with you in our treatment rooms to help you pass the time.
If Your Doctor Has Recommended Infusion Therapy for NMOSD, 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 committed to making the experience as comfortable as possible. 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.