Intravenous (IV) therapy is a kind of medical treatment that involves receiving medication through veins. This can be done in a variety of different ways, including injections and infusions (drip). IV therapy is typically used to deliver nutrients and medication a personal may be unable to properly procure. Hormone deficiency, cancer, and patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) are common causes for a person to receive IV therapy.
In this guide, we will go through the different types of IV therapy available, as well as the benefits, downsides, and possible side effects from this kind of treatment. It is important to remember that for any and all medical treatments you or your loved ones may require, it is always best to first seek professional help from a doctor to know what treatment is best for the situation.
Different Types of IV Therapy
There are many different kinds of IV therapy. The exact kind of IV therapy treatment a patient will receive depends on their condition and what kind of fluid or medication they medically require. Different types of IV therapies include:
- Antibiotic drips
- Blood transfusions
- Pain medication IVs
- IV hydration therapy
- Total parenteral nutrition
- IV nutrition therapy
- Vitamin IV therapy
IV antibiotics are some of the most common types of IV therapy. By directly inserting the antibiotics into the bloodstream, the medication is quickly activated in the body. Blood products and electrolytes are also commonly administered through IV therapy.
In some cases, this IV therapy may be administered from a patient’s home. This is referred to as “home infusion therapy” according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official website.
Pros of IV Therapy
There is a wide variety of benefits to IV therapy which has made it a commonly administered and accepted practice. Although these benefits are important to take into account, it is equally important to talk with a medical professional to make sure your case is compatible with such a treatment. The benefits include:
- Infection control
- Combating dehydration
- Combating malnutrition
- Can help with wound care
- May help fight fatigue
- Building up of the immune system
- Overall skin benefits
There are all important benefits of IV therapy which have made it a popular form of medical practice in the past years. Fatigue, skin problems, malnutrition, dehydration, and a weak immune system are all problems which can affect every aspect of a person’s life. By possibly helping to alleviate some or all of these issues, IV therapy serves as a way to make patients’ lives healthier and better.
Cons of IV Therapy
Although there may be many pros to this therapy, it is important to take into consideration the possible pitfalls of such a treatment. Not only may it be inefficacious, IV therapy may lead to undesirable side effects which are important to be aware of before the administration of the treatment so that a patient may identify if there is something wrong due to the treatment.
Certain cons of IV therapy treatment to consider include:
- That it must be administered by a trained professional
- High concentrations of certain vitamins in the body can lead to other medical problems
- The treatment is contraindicated for those with kidney disease or heart conditions as the organs may not be able to process high concentrations of vitamins at once
- It may lead to electrolyte imbalance
- Limited studies prove the effectiveness of vitamin infusions in mainstream use
- Unregulated treatment practices in mainstream use can increase complications.
- The treatment is not recommended for long term use or as a dietary replacement
There are always cons to medical therapies, no matter the way they are administered or for what disease or illness. If you have questions about the specific side effects which may arise in your specific case from IV therapy, make sure to contact your medical professional for further assistance.
Side Effects of IV Therapy
Regardless of the reasons why you may receive IV therapy, being aware of the possible side effects is crucial before receiving the therapy. Just as with any other treatment, the side effects are rare, and life-threatening side effects are extremely rare, but it is important to always be knowledgeable of the risks. The side effects of IV therapy include:
- Infection at the injection site
- Vein inflammation and bruising
- Blood clots
- Air embolism
- Heart attack
- Allergic reaction
Side effects may seem like a reason to back away from a certain treatment, but it is important to remember that there are potential side effects to any and all medical treatments available. What is most important before receiving a treatment such as IV therapy is to discuss with a medical professional your specific medical condition, any underlying conditions you may have, and whether you are at risk of any said side effects if you receive this treatment.
Section 5012 of the 21st Century Cures Acts was enacted in 2016. This law allows for Medicaid coverage of in-home IV therapy treatment. This includes “home infusion therapy-associated professional services for certain drugs and biologicals administered intravenously, or subcutaneously through a pump that is an item of DME,” according to the CMS website. This means that if you qualify for Medicaid, you may have the chance to get your IV therapy covered.
Intravenous can be a fantastic way to help you or your loved one dealing with certain conditions to receive the nutrients, medication, and vitamins they may need. That being said, it is always important to speak with a healthcare professional to make sure that IV therapy is the best form of treatment for the condition you or the person concerned may be dealing with. Being aware of the possible side effects, as illustrated in this guide, is an excellent way to stay aware, as well.