Certain types of arthritis and other autoimmune diseases can sometimes be managed with a type of treatment called infusion therapy.
Infusion therapy delivers medicine to the patient intravenously, through an IV. Infusion therapy may be an appropriate option if oral medications are not working, or if a rheumatologist believes it is the best treatment option.
What conditions can be treated with infusion therapy?
The OSMS board-certified, fellowship-trained rheumatologists and rheumatology care team – made up of registered nurses, medical assistants and licensed practical nurses – are experts in administering infusion therapy for a number of chronic conditions including:
- Rheumatic diseases including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis and gout
- Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Dermatology disorders, such as psoriasis
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) disorders
- Asthma disorders
What types of medications are used in infusion therapy?
The type of medicine used in infusion therapy are called biologic drugs, which are designed to slow or stop inflammation and
halts the progression of a disease. There are four categories of biologics:
- B-Cell Inhibitors
- Interleukin Inhibitors
- Selective Co—stimulation Modulator
- Tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNF-Inhibitors)
See examples and learn about the benefits and risks of each class of biologics with the Arthritis Foundation.
Every patient is different, and it sometimes takes a combination of drugs to find the correct treatment. For example, a patient
may take a biologic drug paired with a disease-modifying drug like methotrexate to control their inflammation.
During your initial consultation with your rheumatologist, you will go over your medical history and current symptoms to determine which medication will be best for you.
Our physicians and care teams have been through extensive training and education for the medications we offer and continue to expand our knowledge of new medications.
What can I expect at my infusion therapy appointment?
When you arrive at OSMS for your infusion therapy appointment, you will be greeted by our friendly front desk staff and called back for your appointment, typically in just a few minutes.
You will be escorted to an infusion suite where you can relax during your infusion. Your comfort is our priority, so we make sure that there are blankets and pillows, should you need them. A nurse will take your vital signs before and after your infusion.
Our team understands that most patients don’t like needles, however; our nurses do their very best to get your IV on the first try. While you will feel a slight pinch when the needle is inserted, the infusion itself should be painless.
During your infusion appointment, you are free to watch television, browse your phone on our free Wi-Fi, bring an activity with you, or eat a snack.
Most importantly, our patients receive a personalized experience by seeing the same nurses each time they visit, and a rheumatologist is always in the clinic to ensure your safety.
After your appointment, you can expect to see a 30-50% savings on your bill from us as compared to the same treatment in a traditional hospital setting. This is because we do not charge a facility fee and avoid expensive hospital overhead. Because infusion therapy is a frequent and continuous treatment plan, we do our best to keep costs to a minimum.
What are the risks of infusion therapy?
As with most medications, unpredictable side effects may present. Patients may have varying reactions to drugs, such as an allergic reaction, pain, or nausea. This is why all of our infusion therapy appointments take place in office with a rheumatologist in the office.
Additionally, biologic drugs can slightly decrease immune response, making you more susceptible to colds or the flu. All appropriate lab tests will be ordered by the physician prior to starting and during infusion therapy.
If you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition and feel that you may benefit from infusion therapy, talk with your primary care provider about seeking treatment at OSMS. We have five rheumatologists, including a pediatric rheumatologist, who provide care in our Green Bay and Fox Valley offices. You can also request an appointment by calling our clinic at 920-430-8113 or filling out an online request here.