What is Infusion Therapy?
Infusion therapy involves the administration of medication through a needle or catheter. It is prescribed when a patient’s condition is so severe that it cannot be treated effectively by oral medications. Typically, “infusion therapy” means that a drug is administered intravenously, but the term may also refer to situations where drugs are provided through other non-oral routes, such as subcutaneous infusion and intrathecal (into the membranes surrounding the spinal cord).
Conditions commonly requiring infusion therapy include infections that are unresponsive to oral antibiotics, cancer and cancer-related pain, dehydration, gastrointestinal diseases or disorders which prevent normal functioning of the gastrointestinal system, and more. Other conditions treated with chronic infusion therapies may include Congestive Heart Failure, Crohn’s Disease, Immune Deficiencies, Rheumatoid Arthritis, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, Oncology, Psoriasis, Growth Hormone Imbalance, Hemophilia, and other rare or chronic conditions.
Total Parental Nutrition (TPN)
Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) is a method of feeding that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. Fluids are given into a vein. This provides most of the nutrients the body needs. The method is used when a person cannot or should not receive feedings or fluids by mouth. Sick or premature newborns may be given TPN before starting other feedings. They may also have this type of feeding when they are unable to absorb nutrients through the gastrointestinal tract due to chronic conditions.
Antibiotics / Anti-infectives
- Antibiotics: Used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. They inhibit the growth of bacteria by interfering with the production of certain biochemicals necessary to sustain the bacteria’s life or by interfering with the bacteria’s ability to use nutrients. The body’s defenses then have a much easier time eliminating the infection.
When used properly, antibiotics are usually effective. To treat an infection adequately, however, antibiotics must be taken regularly for a specified time. If they are not taken for the prescribed period, microorganisms resistant to the antibiotic may continue growing, and the infection could reoccur.
- Other Anti-infectives: Drugs called anthelmintics are used to treat worm infestations. Fungal infections are treated with antifungals, such as nystatin, that destroy and prevent the growth of fungi. A pediculicide is a drug used to treat a person infested with lice. And a scabicide is prescribed to deal with scabies.
- Antivirals: medications are used to combat viral infections.
- Vaccines: Vaccines were used long before antibiotics became available. A vaccine contains weakened or dead disease-causing microorganisms or parts of such organisms, which activate the body’s immune system to produce a natural defense against a particular disease (such as polio or measles). A vaccine is usually given to prevent a specific disease, but it may also be used in certain circumstances to alleviate or treat an infectious disease that has already taken hold.
IVIG – SCIG
Intravenous Immune Globulin (IVIG) is a sterile solution of concentrated antibodies extracted from healthy donors which is administered into a vein. IVIG is used to treat disorders of the immune system or to boost immune response to serious illness, and to treat immuno-suppressed recipients of bone marrow transplants. Antibodies are responsible for defending our bodies from pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. Certain immune globulin products can be administered subcutaneously (SCIG).