Infusion therapy

Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice a guide | Transforming Outcomes

Cancer, the lawless growth of the body cells, has a significant impact on society. It is the second foremost cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020. According to WHO, commonly reported cases were breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

The conventional approach for cancer treatment is chemotherapy. While chemotherapy is a broad term and refers to delivering the anticancer drugs either by mouth or intravenously, infusion therapy is when the drugs or the fluids are administered through a needle or catheter, usually termed intravenously (IV).

Infusion therapy is helpful when one cannot take medicine or the drug orally or when the drug has to be dispensed at a commanded pace. It is also efficacious when the drug loses its productivity when exposed to the human digestive tract. Finally, infusion therapy is a helping hand when the medication needs unhurried and measured drippage into the bloodstream.

Infusion therapy can also be employed to supply antibiotics, antiemetics, antifungals, antivirals, blood factors, corticosteroids, and growth hormones. In addition, the treatment aims to administer the drug that targets and destroys the cancer cells and keeps the patient hydrated during the treatment.

This therapy has an application in treating a galaxy of chronic diseases such as immune deficiency disorders, gastrointestinal tract disorders, Crohn’s disease, certain forms of arthritis, and the most important one being cancer.

The patient can only receive infusion therapy in a clinical or hospital setting, outpatient facility, or infusion center. In addition, the process demands heedful monitoring and skilled professionals in the company with a reasonable amount of time.

A needle is inserted into a suitable vein during the procedure, usually in the arm region, and a tube is affixed to an IV bag carrying the medicine. This bag is allowed to hang from an IV pole, and the medication gradually drips into the bloodstream.

Although the procedure generally seems safe and smooth, some risk factors are associated with it, like inflammation of the vein (phlebitis), formation of an air bubble into the vein resulting in its blockage (air embolism), collapsed veins, and infection. In addition, the physician or doctor may also look for other unusual signs, including itching, coughing, facial flushing, nausea, muscle or joint pain or stiffness, etc.


Ketamine is a medicine used to manage neuropathic pain (nerve pain) during and after your cancer treatment. Ketamine infusion breaks down your pain- sensing nerves that transmit pain messages to your brain. As a result, it may lessen the pain level and makes you feel untroubled. In addition, the injection may bring you pain relief over the next few days and weeks.

The doctor or physician might recommend ketamine therapy if :

  • the patient experiences any side effects from other pain medications.
  • the patient doesn’t gain satisfactory relief from other pain medications.
  • the patient has intractable pain.

Ketamine infusion therapy is an efficient method to bring relief to the patient right away.

The treatment session may take about 4 to 6 hours.

The treatment has turned out to provide long-term relief from pain, generally after just 2-3 sessions. The pain bearer may continue the pain-relieving therapy once it proves victorious. The treatment is usually recommended once a month.

Although ketamine has been utilized for different forms of cancer pain treatment for a long time, there is no explicit evidence.

It is always recommended to use ketamine with extreme attention, and the side effects should be vigilantly observed.


In regional chemotherapy, drugs are injected straight into an artery that leads to the portion of the body with the tumor. This centers the chemo on the cancer cells in that section. It decreases side effects by restricting the number of drugs reaching the rest of the body. In hepatic artery infusion or chemotherapy, a drug is given directly into the hepatic artery that can be used for liver cancer.

Consultants have investigated installing chemo drugs directly into the hepatic artery at a steady rate to see if it might be more productive than systemic chemo. This routine is identified as hepatic artery infusion (HAI). It is somewhat different from chemoembolization because surgery necessitates putting an infusion pump beneath the belly’s skin (abdomen). The pump is connected to a catheter that joins the hepatic artery. This is achieved while the patient is under general anesthesia. The chemo is introduced with a needle through the skin into the pump reservoir, and it is discharged moderately and steadily into the hepatic artery.

The healthy liver cells crumble down most of the drug before it can reach the rest of the body. This approach gets a more significant dose of chemo to the tumor than systemic chemo but doesn’t aggravate side effects. The drugs most ordinarily used for HAI include floxuridine (FUDR), cisplatin, and oxaliplatin.

HAI may be practiced for people with extensive liver cancers that cannot be eliminated with surgery or cannot be healed fully with TACE. This technique may not be beneficial in all patients because it requires surgery to insert the pump and catheter, which many liver cancer patients cannot tolerate.

Studies have concluded that HAI is often efficient in contracting tumors, but more experimentation is still demanded.

Many surgeons and oncologists are nowadays adopting adjuvant hepatic artery infusion (HAI ) chemotherapy, including systemic chemotherapy, to limit recurrence in victims with resected colorectal liver metastases (CLMs) or to heal unresectable CLMs.

When coupled with systemic chemotherapy, HAI has been ascertained to significantly increase recurrence-free and overall survival in patients with beforehand resected colorectal liver metastases by comparison to surgery plus systemic chemotherapy alone. According to a report of 2005, 41% of patients who received HAI with chemotherapy were alive even after ten years of resection.

Along with CLMs, HAI can be delivered as an associate to surgery for cholangiocarcinoma within the liver, where studies propose outcomes comparable to those for CLMs.


  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • nausea or vomiting
  • hair loss
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • anemia
  • muscle aches