Prepare for Infusion

  • Check your immunizations. If you have a few weeks, ask your doctors about whether any vaccinations would be recommended.
  • TB test. Be sure you have had a recent Tuberculosis test, whether it is the skin test, lung x-ray, or blood test. TB can be more easily activated when you are on Biologics and may need to be addressed ahead of time.
  • Patient support programs. View the medication website to find a phone number to speak with a representative. Most offer programs with certified nurses to help answer all your questions at no cost to you. You may ask the Biologic Coordinator to enroll you in these programs so you may connect with qualified medical personnel in the future if you have questions.
  • Payment assistance. Pharmaceutical companies have copay cards to help patients with the cost of medications. Ask the Biologic Coordinator to help you enroll and participate in these programs.
  • Anxiety. Even if you have had other Biologics or infusions before, if you are concerned that anxiety might be a problem during the infusion, inform the Biologic Coordinator and speak to your physician. Together you can decide whether you might benefit from some medication to make you more comfortable on infusion day.

Day before your Infusion

  • Ask questions. Discuss any concerns with your physician ahead of time to feel as prepared as possible. You may wish to reach out to the Biologic Coordinator or the Certified Nurse from the patient support programs for any questions.
  • Hydrate. The day before the infusion, drink plenty of water to be sure you are well hydrated during the infusion. This is believed to make IV’s easier to insert and reduce infusion reactions. Maybe you can also buy a bottle of your favorite water or juice to bring with you to the infusion.
  • Rest. Getting a good night’s rest the night before will help you feel less anxious and better able to tolerate the long day you might have in the infusion room.
  • Just in case. Go over any infusion reaction procedures with the nurses who will manage the infusion. Reactions are rare, but you may be more relaxed knowing they are prepared.

Day of your Infusion

  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Unless your nurse asks you to fast for some reason, eat a healthy balanced meal to keep your blood sugar steady during the infusion.
  • Invite a friend. Bring a friend for company and support then for a meal afterwards.
  • Comfortable clothes. Wear something soft and easy to move in. You do not need to wear uncomfortable and restrictive clothing. Consider you may also need to use the restroom with only one hand free.
  • Lap blanket. Medical facilities can be cool and some people feel an IV gives them a chill. Bring an extra small blanket to ward off chills.
  • Bring small snacks. Infusions can last long enough that you may get hungry, bring some healthy, yummy snacks or treats.
  • Entertaining diversions. Bring a book, magazine, knitting or other activity you can do on your lap.
  • Laptop, tablet, or smart phone. It can be very helpful to communicate with supportive people via texting, Twitter, or Facebook. Or you can catch up on your favorite TV shows.
  • Driver. It is impossible to predict how you will respond to an infusion or whatever pre-medications that may make you drowsy, so you may not want to drive home, at least not the first time.
  • Speak up. If at any time, you are concerned about your wellbeing, uncomfortable, or worried speak with the medical staff on duty. Even perceptive nurses cannot read your mind or may make mistakes, so speak up.

After the infusion

  • Rest. Sometimes the infusion may leave you tired or with a headache the following day. Some have side effects from pre-medications such as puffiness or flushing. However, some actually feel extra energy as an effect of intravenous steroid pre-meds.
  • Expectations. A biologic does not take effect immediately, they are not magical and instantaneous improvement is rare. Nevertheless, it is the first step on the right path of better health.
  • Communicate with your medical team. Ask what number you can call with any concerns after the infusion and contact a medical professional if you have any symptoms that worry you. No article online is a substitute for the individualized medical advice, contact the Biologic Coordinator at 703-776-1760 for any questions.