Infusion therapy is when medication or fluids are administered through a needle or catheter. It’s a way of delivering medication that can’t be taken orally, or that need to be dispensed at a controlled pace.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what infusion therapy is, how it works, and the types of conditions it can treat.
Infusion therapy is when you receive medication through a needle or catheter, usually intravenously (IV). Other types of infusion therapy include:
Some drugs can’t be taken orally because they lose their effectiveness when exposed to your digestive system. Infusion therapy is an alternative when there’s no comparable oral therapy or when you’re unable to take oral medication.
If you’ve ever spent time in a hospital, you probably had an IV to make sure you stayed hydrated and to have other medications delivered quickly, if needed. That’s a type of infusion therapy. So is an insulin pump that releases insulin just under your skin.
Infusion therapy can also be used to deliver nutrition, as well as many types of medications, including:
- blood factors
- growth hormones
- immunoglobulin replacement
- inotropic heart medications
Infusion therapy is also often used because it allows for controlled dosing. Some types of chemotherapy, for example, need to be dripped slowly into the bloodstream. Other drugs need to reach the bloodstream quickly in life-and-death situations such as:
- anaphylactic shock
- heart attack