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Coronavirus and Infusion Therapy

If your IBD medication requires scheduled infusions, you may have questions about how to maintain a safe environment for yourself and your loved ones during this uncertain time. If your treatment requires an infusion, please do not skip these appointments. Infusion medications are meant to be given on a set schedule to control the progression of disease, and it’s important to maintain the schedule set by your healthcare provider. Please refer to our IBD Medications page for specific medication guidance.


Video Length 00:25:00

COVID-19 & IBD: What patients need to know about medication infusions In this video chat, Dr. David Hudesman of NYU Langone Medical Center and Kaitey Morgan of the National Infusion Center Association discuss what IBD patients need to know about medications & infusions.

 

It's important to communicate with your provider about any questions or concerns you may have. When talking with your healthcare team, remember to discuss your specific case and preferences in terms of schedule (morning, afternoon, evening infusions). It’s also important to discuss the risks and benefits of receiving your prescribed therapy during a community outbreak of COVID-19. Again, you should not stop receiving your infusions without first consulting your healthcare team.  

Infusion medications for IBD may include the following:

  • Cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Sandimmune®)
  • Infliximab (Remicade®)
  • Infliximab abda (Renflexis®)
  • Infliximab dyyb (Inflectra™)
  • Infliximab qbtx (IXIFI™)
  • Methylprednisolone (A-Methapred®, Depo-Medrol®, Medrol Dosepak®, Solu-Medrol®)
  • Natalizumab (Tysabri®)
  • Ustekinumab (Stelara®)
  • Tacrolimus (Prograf®)
  • Vedolizumab (Entyvio®)

In addition to IBD medications, there are other treatments requiring IV infusion which may include antibiotics to treat infections, vitamin and mineral supplementation, and nutritional support therapy.

Questions to ask before an infusion
  1. Am I allowed to bring a visitor or family member with me to my appointment?
  2. Is it safe to drive my elderly family member to an infusion appointment if we’ve been social distancing?
  3. How is the infusion center protecting patients and staff members from the virus?
  4. How is my home infusion nurse protecting himself/herself for my home infusion?
  5. What is your procedure for checking in for my appointment?
  6. Should I come to an infusion center or have a home infusion visit if I’m experiencing fever, cough, or other symptoms of illness?
  7. How will I be protected during the infusion process, and what can I do when I leave the infusion center to maintain safety?
  8. If I need to go to an alternate infusion center, what authorizations will be needed and who can help me?
  9. Is it safer for me to go to an infusion center or to have a home infusion?
  10. If I am positive for COVID-19, and I am isolating at home, how should I best handle the infusion therapy appointments?
  11. If I was exposed to someone who tested positive with COVID-19, but I have no symptoms, is it still okay to go to the infusion center/hospital?

The National Infusion Center Association offers helpful COVID-19 guidance and a resource toolkit for infusion patients. Please visit https://infusioncenter.org/covid-19/ for more information on how infusion patients can stay safe and healthy.

Tips for adults receiving infusions in outpatient settings
  • Call and confirm your appointment prior to your visit to ensure that the center is staffed and ready for you.
  • Ask about policies that may have changed regarding social distancing. Some infusion centers may be rescheduling patients or requiring new protective measures to adhere to CDC guidelines. 
  • Check with infusion staff about their check-in procedures. 
    • For example, you may be required to wait in your vehicle or outside the building to avoid gathering in a waiting room. 
    • Or you may be instructed to call from your mobile phone when you arrive.
  • If possible, schedule infusions at off-peak hours, and discuss options with the infusion center.
  • If you aren’t feeling well, always check with a healthcare provider BEFORE going to the infusion appointment.
  • If traveling is a challenge, discuss home infusion options with your healthcare provider. 
    • Remember, check your insurance plan to see if home infusions are an option.
  • If you take other medications in addition to the infusions, ask if you can get a 90-day supply of those medications. This helps to limit multiple trips. 

The National Infusion Center Association offers information about infusion therapy. For more information check out this link: https://infusioncenter.org/infusion-therapy-101/

Tips for adults receiving infusions at home

You may have the option of receiving infusions at home rather than at an outpatient center. Home infusion includes a nurse or other healthcare professional coming into your home to administer the medication. Here is some general guidance to consider regarding home infusion therapy:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Ensure the nurse or other healthcare professional washes his/her hands frequently and only handles medication and equipment with clean hands and gloves. 
  • Ensure you have a clean space for all equipment, medication and supplies. It’s best to use the same area each time. Check supplies frequently to make sure the medication has not been tampered with in any way. 
  • It's best to keep the medication in a clean, dry place that’s out of reach of children and pets. 
  • For medications requiring storage in the refrigerator, make sure the medication is separated from your food supply. 
    • Don’t mix different medications together as it can be difficult to distinguish them. 
  • Make sure you are disposing of any supplies properly as directed by your nurse or healthcare provider. 
  • Keep a log of medications for reference, especially if you take certain medications at the same time on a regular basis. 
  • Monitor your health daily. 
    • If something doesn’t seem right, or you notice a reaction that you haven’t seen before, call your healthcare provider right away. 
  • If you are home alone during infusions, make sure you are keeping in touch with a close neighbor or friend. 
    • Share what time you normally take your medicine, follow up with them frequently, and encourage them to follow up with you as well. 

 

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The National Infusion Center Association educates and provides resources for patients in need of intravenous and injectable medications. To find out more information visit: https://infusioncenter.org/ 

This content was developed in partnership with the National Infusion Center Association. Review was also provided by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s National Scientific Advisory Committee.

Last updated 4/17/20