Infusion Therapy

InfusionsAt Articularis Healthcare we offer infusion therapy of biologic medications in a supportive, patient friendly environment. Our nursing staff consists of Registered Nurses who have been trained to provide therapeutic infusions in which medications are administered through an IV placed in your vein. We provide patient education prior to your treatment and are available to answer your questions at any time during this process.

What To Expect

Your physician recommends you begin infusion therapy. What happens next?

  1. Low Country Rheumatology will confirm that your insurance provides coverage for your treatment.
  • Most insurance companies require a predetermination/authorization before you can receive infusion, and unfortunately, it can take a few days to a couple of weeks to receive the predetermination/authorization.
  1. Low Country Rheumatology’s Infusion Department will call you to schedule your initial infusion appointment.
  • Low Country Rheumatology has an infusion suite at both the North Charleston and Mt. Pleasant locations. We will be opening another location in West Ashley soon.
  1. Your first appointment
  • Make sure you arrive on time for your appointment. If you are more than 15 minutes late, we may have to reschedule your infusion.
  • Check-in at the Front Desk as you would for a regular appointment. Let the Front Desk Receptionist know you are receiving infusion. The receptionist will print and hand a “Router” to you to give to the infusion nurse.
  • You may have a seat in the waiting room near the Infusion Department; a nurse will call you back shortly.
  1. The nurse will take your weight and ask you the following questions:
  • How have you been feeling lately?
    • If you are experiencing a cold or symptoms of a cold, please call and speak with an infusion nurse prior to your appointment to determine if you should receive infusion. Receiving infusion may decrease your body’s ability to fight off the infection.
  • Have you, or will you be having surgery or invasive dental procedures?
    • Infusion may decrease your body’s ability to heal and fight infection; it is important to tell the nurse if you have had, or are planning to have, surgery or invasive dental procedures.
  • You will make any payments prior to your treatment.
  1. You will sit in a comfortable recliner during the therapy. We have a TV and provide free Wi-Fi; you are welcome to take a nap during the procedure, read a book/magazine, or use a smart phone, computer or tablet.

FAQs

IV stands for intravenous, which means “within the vein.” Infusion therapy is a medication that is given by placing a flexible catheter in your vein using a small gauge needle.
There are many conditions treated with infusion therapy, including but not limited to: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, Wegener’s granulomatosis, microscopic polyanglitis, osteoporosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and more.
It may take 3 weeks to 1 month to be scheduled for your first infusion. Most insurance companies require a predetermination or authorization before you can receive infusion, and unfortunately, it can take a couple of days to weeks before we receive the predetermination/authorization.

Additionally, infusion medications may have a specific loading dose, or set of initial infusion appointments that are scheduled closer together, which can delay your first appointment if necessary times are not available.

A loading dose is an initial set of scheduled infusions before beginning a more routine treatment plan that is determined by your physician. The loading dose allows for a drug to reach a therapeutic level at a quicker rate, with consecutive infusion therapy as lower maintenance doses.
If your insurance does not provide proper coverage or denies an authorization, your doctor will determine the next steps to take and what will work best for you.
No. There are drugs used to treat autoimmune diseases that are classified as “chemotherapy drugs,” however, the dosage is much lower and less toxic than those used in cancer treatment.
Depending on the type of medication you are having infused, it can take as little as 30 minutes up to 5 hours.
Yes, we have a bathroom conveniently located near the infusion suite should you need to use it at any time.
The frequency of your infusion therapy will be determined by your physician.
Most patients say, “I didn’t feel anything at all,” while others claim it feels like a small pinch and is comparable to getting their routine lab work done.
The needle size is very small; this size needle is often used on children in the hospital.
Yes; patients can safely transport themselves to and from infusion.
If you are planning on becoming pregnant, it is best to discuss this with your physician before starting infusions to determine the best treatment plan. If there is a chance you could be pregnant, please notify your physician or nurse as soon as possible.
Any side effects would be an allergic reaction that would likely happen while you’re being infused. An allergic reaction may appear as itchiness, difficulty breathing or heavy pressure on your chest. Our trained nurses will be checking on you throughout your infusion, so if you have an allergic reaction they will assist you.
Low Country Rheumatology has an infusion suite at both the North Charleston and Mt. Pleasant locations. We will be opening another location in West Ashley soon.

Therapy is managed by our team of physicians and the experienced nurses here at Low Country Rheumatology. The staff is specially trained regarding all aspects of intravenous (IV ) infusion including emergency procedures.

You will sit in a comfortable recliner during the therapy. You are welcome to take a nap during the procedure, or you can pass the time with a book, magazine, smart phone, computer or tablet. We also have a TV and provide free Wi-Fi.

Dress in layers for your own comfort. We offer blankets and you are welcome to bring additional blankets or pillows.

Drink plenty of water. Being well hydrated will help make it easier to start your IV. Avoid excessive amounts of coffee prior to your infusion because it can be dehydrating. Avoid foods and activities that cause dehydration prior to your infusion, such as heavy exercise, salty foods and donating blood.

Make sure you arrive on time for your appointment. If you are more than 15 minutes late, we may have to reschedule your infusion.

If you have any questions, feel free to call the infusion department at: (843) 572-8932. You can also stop by the infusion department prior to your appointment; we have plenty of educational pamphlets about your medication. You may also access information about your medication in the section below:

Medications

ACTEMRA is used for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis and is indicated if TNF alpha blockers have proven to be ineffective, or were not tolerated. ACTEMRA works by blocking the action of the IL-6 messenger cytokine that is responsible for sending signals to white blood cells to fight viruses and germs. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have too many messenger cytokines in their body which causes the body’s immune system to attack normal healthy tissue. ACTEMRA slows down the progression of joint damage and can improve the physical function of patients. This particular medication cab be used in combination with methotrexate or other DMARD’s, but can also be used by itself as a medication option for patients who do not tolerate methotrexate. ACTEMRA can lower your ability to fight infections, so patients need to be monitored on a regular basis by their physician.

Please visit the manufacturer’s website for additional information

BENLYSTA is a medication that is given as an intravenous infusion for the treatment of active systemic lupus erthematosus. This is the first FDA-approved medication in over 50 years to treat SLE patients who are currently receiving other lupus medications. BENLYSTA works by reducing specific cells in your immune system that can cause lupus to become active. BENLYSTA can lower the ability for the immune system to fight infections so it is important to let your health care provider know if you are currently being treated for an infection, are healing from a surgical or dental procedure, or have had any recent changes with your health.

Please visit the manufacturer’s website for additional information

ORENCIA is a specialty treatment given to reduce signs and symptoms in adults with rheumatoid arthritis, including patients who have not had an adequate response to other medications for RA. This medication can help prevent further joint damage and improve your ability to perform daily activities. ORENCIA can be given through an intravenous catheter in your vein or is available in an injectable form that the patient can administer at their home. ORENCIA reduces the activity of T- cells in your body. T-cells are an important part of the immune system and when activated, begin a chain of events that result in inflammation, pain, swelling, and joint damage. ORENCIA can lower your ability to fight infections, so patients need to be monitored on a regular basis by their physician.

Please visit the manufacturer’s website for additional information

RECLAST is administered once per year intravenously for the treatment of osteoporosis. The medication works in combination with Calcium and Vitamin D supplements to promote stronger bones and prevent fractures from occurring. Your bones continuously go through a renewal process where old bone is broken down and new bone forms to replace it. Patients with osteoporosis break down bone faster than new bone is created to replace it, resulting in an increased risk for fracture. RECLAST slows the breakdown process and allows new bone a chance to fill in areas of bone loss.

Please visit the manufacturer’s website for additional information

REMICADE is a biologic medication that is given intravenously to patients with the following diagnoses: Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and plaque psoriasis. REMICADE blocks the action of a messenger protein in your body called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha is created by your body’s immune system and is an important part of fighting off infections. People with certain diseases have too much TNF-alpha that can cause the body’s immune system to attack normal healthy tissue. REMICADE can help prevent the damage caused by too much TNF-alpha. REMICADE can lower the ability for the immune system to fight infections so it is important to let your health care provider know if you are currently being treated for an infection, are healing from a surgical or dental procedure, or have had any recent changes with your health.

Please visit the manufacturer’s website for additional information

RITUXAN is a biologic medication that is given intravenously to patients with the following diagnoses: Rheumatoid arthritis, wegener’s granulomatosis, and microscopic polyangiitis. RITUXAN targets B-cells in your body which are an important part of the immune system. B-cells play a vital role in the chain of events that result in inflammation, pain, swelling, and joint damage. RITUXAN can lower your ability to fight infections, so patients need to be monitored on a regular basis by their physician.

Please visit the manufacturer’s website for additional information

SIMPONI ARIA is a biologic intravenous infusion that is given with methotrexate to treat adults with rheumatoid arthritis. SIMPONI ARIA blocks the action of a messenger protein in your body called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha is created by your body’s immune system and is an important part of fighting off infections. People with certain diseases have too much TNF-alpha that can cause the body’s immune system to attack normal healthy tissue. SIMPONI ARIA can help prevent the damage caused by too much TNF-alpha. SIMPONI ARIA can lower the ability for the immune system to fight infections so it is important to let your health care provider know if you are currently being treated for an infection, are healing from a surgical or dental procedure, or have had any recent changes with your health.

Please visit the manufacturer’s website for additional information

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