How Infusion Therapy Can Benefit Those Undergoing Cancer Treatment
Infusion therapy is a method of delivering vital medication or nutrients to a patient who would benefit from bypassing oral medication or food. This may be due to them being too ill to eat or too ill to absorb medication and nutrients in the digestive tract. Additionally, there are some medications that either cannot be taken orally or do not work as quickly or as well when taken orally.
Infusion therapy is typically administered in a hospital or health care clinic setting, but some patients are able to access the therapy at home. It involves having an intravenous line inserted into a peripheral or central vein, then medication is pumped into the bloodstream through the line. The length of time it takes to administer the medication depends on the type of medication being given and the health of the patient.
Infusion therapy is particularly useful for cancer patients who often experience bouts of severe lethargy and gastrointestinal upset. Additionally, as the immune system is weakened during cancer treatment, patients are at a greater risk of developing some infections and illnesses than the general population, so being able to deliver medication straight into the bloodstream can help those with cancer recover faster from secondary illnesses. Here are a few ways infusion therapy can be used to support cancer patients:
Chemotherapy can be a lifesaving drug for those with cancer, and it's most often administered intravenously. Using infusion therapy can allow patients to access certain chemotherapy drugs that can't be taken orally. Patients can also sometimes avoid some of the side effects associated with taking oral chemotherapy drugs. Additionally, if a patient is experiencing severe side effects from their chemotherapy treatment, infusions can be altered and delivered into the bloodstream at a slower rate, which can be more comfortable for the patient.
Vomiting and gastric upset is a common side effect of some cancer treatments, and taking an oral anti-emetic can be pointless if the patient is unable to keep the medication down long enough for it to be absorbed in the intestines. Vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration and weight loss, so using infusion therapy to administer antiemetics can help patients feel better quickly and reduce the risk of them not absorbing other oral medicines they require.
Some types of cancer affecting the digestive system can make it difficult or impossible for a patient to eat normally and absorb essential nutrients in the intestines. Parenteral nutrition is a way of delivering all the nutrients required for health directly into the bloodstream. The gastrointestinal system is bypassed, and patients receive a specially-formulated infusion that will prevent them becoming dehydrated or malnourished.
These are just a few ways infusion therapy can benefit those undergoing cancer treatment. Patients should discuss the full scope of infusion therapy in relation to their treatment regime for cancer, or other illness, with a doctor like those found at Idaho Arthritis Center.