If your doctor has decided biologics is the best treatment plan for your rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may be given the medication via IV infusion. This just means that the medication will be put directly into your bloodstream through a vein in your hand or arm. You can get the infusion at an outpatient center, at your doctor's office, or through home health care depending on what your doctor decides, what works for your schedule, and what your insurance covers. It is normal to be nervous if you have never been given medication via infusion before. Here are some tips to make the treatment a little easier on you.
Do not be shy about asking your doctor questions about the treatment plan for your RA. You can also ask your doctor for reading material in the form of pamphlets or brochures about the treatment plan and medication you will be receiving.
Get Necessary Pretreatments
Be sure to talk to your doctor about any immunizations or medications you need to take before receiving the RA treatment. This includes being tested for tuberculosis (TB). The infusion medication will suppress certain pathways to your immune system. This will make you more susceptible to all sorts of bacteria, infections, and illnesses. TB specifically could be dormant in your body without you knowing it, and it is possible for it to becoming active when you suppress your immune system. This is also true of hepatitis B.
Explore Birth Control Options
RA medications given through infusion can be incredibly powerful. Unfortunately, they are known to be dangerous to a growing fetus. It is vital to make sure you are not pregnant before starting the treatment. Furthermore, you need to make sure you do not get pregnant until the treatment is over.
Make Healthy Choices
It is important to make sure you drink plenty of water, do not skip any meals, and get a good night's sleep. You want to be well rested and energized before your first infusion. You should only skip a meal and stop liquids if your doctor tells you that you need to before the infusion.
Be On Time
Make sure you are on time to all of your infusion appointments if you have to go to the doctor's office or an outpatient center to receive them. This is especially true for the first appointment as you may need to do some paperwork.
As you can see, there are a lot of small things you can do to prepare for your infusion and make the process easier on yourself. To learn more, speak with an infusion specialist like those at Idaho Arthritis Center.