Every day, with every drip, potentially life-saving drugs are delivered to cancer patients. But IV infusions are also working wonders on other medical conditions
“It is an autoimmune disease. Some unknown stimulus is causing the patient’s white blood cells to go to the colon and fight,” says Dr. Michael Weiss, a gastroenterologist on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.
Ulcerative colitis is both hard to treat and painful.
“The symptoms would be pain in the abdomen, a profound amount of bloody diarrhea, weight loss and there’s other associated illnesses,” says Dr. Weiss.
A lifelong, chronic disease, doctors commonly use anti-inflammatories to achieve remission. Over years of treatment, patients may become resistant and have no choice but surgery to remove the colon, until the development of IV drugs.
“We have these newer medications which are given by IV infusion. These are medicines that are developed as antibodies against some of the factors that really promote that inflammation. With this newer line of therapy, generally we can get somebody completely in remission so that they’re avoiding surgery,” says Dr. Weiss.
A growing number of people are getting treatment for a growing number of conditions at outpatient infusion centers. Be it for osteoporosis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, medication is delivered directly into a vein.
12-year-old Dominic Martina has Crohn’s disease and gets infusion therapy at the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
“It’s a four hour process where they just sit in the chair with the IV and the medicine is given that way works great, Dominic has sustained on it,” says Karen Martina.
“I don’t really feel like I’m in a hospital because there’s the TV and a little gaming system that I can play on,” says Dominic.
IV infusions: a time intensive treatment, delivering dramatic results.