Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can turn even the most mundane tasks — such as personal hygiene, eating, and driving — into monumental tasks. So when you start experiencing symptoms, you hope your doctor is able to prescribe effective medications to help you resume your life with a sense of normalcy. But, what happens if traditional meds aren’t providing any relief? Would infusion therapy work? Are there any side effects? And what can you expect from such treatment?
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that affects the joints, skin, and blood vessels. When it affects the lining of the joints, it results in swelling and chronic pain. The aches increase and become worse as the illness erodes joint cartilage — sometimes causing deformity. In addition to painful, swollen joints, other symptoms may include fatigue, stiffness, and loss of appetite.
How can infusion therapy work for rheumatoid arthritis?
Sometimes, patients with moderate to severe RA have a difficult time taking oral medications — or they simply aren’t working. When this occurs, your doctor may prescribe infusion therapy of intravenous medications, including Remicade, ORENCIA® (abatacept), Actemra, Cimzia, or Rixutan. Doing so delivers the medication directly into your bloodstream. This means you get faster, more effective results. Their benefits include:
- Providing relief from swelling, pain, and stiffness
- Allowing you to conduct your activities of daily living without difficulty
- Preventing additional joint damage
- Slowing down the progression of bone damage
- Reducing fatigue
Undergoing infusion therapy for rheumatoid arthritis can provide relief from symptoms anywhere between six months to a year. The length of each infusion session depends on the severity of the illness, as well as the type of medication being administered.
Are there any side effects of infusion therapy?
Yes. As with any type of medication, it’s possible for an individual to feel side effects — such as dizziness, flu-like symptoms, fever, or itching at the site of infection, to name a few. In order to reduce the likelihood of side effects, talk to your doctor about your medical history. Mention all medications you’re currently taking — prescription, over-the-counter, and/or birth control. At Infusion Therapy, you’ll always have a healthcare provider who will explain all of the possible side effects, as well as monitor you throughout the entire duration of the infusion 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 of iron diluted with saline 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.
If Your Doctor Has Recommended IV 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-site to make the process as seamless as possible.