Infusion Therapy

In this Article

What is Infusion Therapy?

Infusion therapy provides medication and fluids through an IV, where a small flexible tube is inserted into a vein. An IV is often the best and most efficient way to deliver treatment as it reaches the bloodstream more quickly.

Infusion therapy is ideal for patients on an ongoing medication regime, such as:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Antibiotics
  • Arthritis treatment
  • Pain management

Implanted infusion pumps may also be used, which are small devices placed under the skin that send medication throughout the body. Infusion pumps provide targeted and consistent medication to reduce your pain. They are used when other methods don’t work or when you need long-term medications or fluids.

What Are The Risks and/or Side Effects?

Risks of intravenous treatment and infusion pumps include:

  • Pain or infection at the implant site
  • Bruising, bleeding, swelling, or infection
  • Damage to tissue and skin
  • Drug withdrawal

What Are The Benefits?

Infusion therapy delivers targeted medication throughout the day to a specific part of your body, as well as other benefits:

  • Requires less medication than other administration methods because the medication doesn’t have to go through the entire body.
  • Alleviates chronic pain when oral, IV, or topical medications fail.
  • Reduces side effects when compared to other forms of the same medication.
  • Avoids the discomfort of catheters through the skin or injections directly into the spine.
  • Allows you to increase your activity level as you live with less pain and better symptom management.

How is it Done or Administered?

Infusion therapy involves placing a small, flexible tube called a catheter into a vein using a needle. A nurse or provider will usually do this at a clinic, hospital, or other healthcare facility. Inserting an infusion pump requires a minor surgery where your doctor will place the device under your skin.

What Are Follow-Up Requirements and Options?

With an infusion pump, your healthcare provider schedules routine follow-up visits to check your pump and prevent problems. During these appointments, your provider may test the pump’s alarm, letting you hear the sound it makes so that you know what kinds of sounds may alert you to an emergency.

Your provider also makes sure your pump is working correctly and the battery is still good. However, you should learn about the features of your pump — and what to watch for or report to prevent problems.