GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)– Infusion has long been a standard delivery method of chemotherapy for cancer patients.

But, did you know that it’s also used to treat other conditions and diseases?

We spoke with a neurologist and a nurse about who could benefit from infusion therapy in this week’s “Ask the Expert” in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis.

Infusion therapy allows for the delivery of chemotherapy drugs directly into your bloodstream.

But it doesn’t stop there, Dr. Kathleen Woshkolup, a neurologist, says there are so many other conditions and diseases that can be treated with infusions.

“So for patients who are receiving care for neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, migraines, there are various different types of illnesses that now have medications that are available intravenously.”

Dr. Kathleen Woschkolup / Neurologist, Bon Secours St. Francis

The frequency of infusions varies from patient to patient.

“So how often they have to return depends on what exactly it is we’re treating. So, every every medication or disease process has a different protocol,” said. Dr. Woschkolup.

Nurse Felisa McEntyre says during infusions she tries to make the patient as comfortable as possible.

“When they come in, I try to get them in a comfortable area. Generally, I’ll let them kind of pick out where they want to sit. We have rooms with windows and we have rooms that do not have windows. I get their vital signs, ask them questions about their history… make sure they’re getting the right medication, and then start their IV medication and go from there,” said Nurse McEntyre.

After a quick prick to insert the IV, Nurse McEntyre says some patients may experience the medication burn a little at first, but it won’t last long.

She says, “You can come in with a blanket, which we have warm blankets here. We have snacks. We have music. We will have little tablets coming in, but they can also bring their own and bring headphones and, you know, whatever they need that helps to keep them comfortable”.

Dr. Woshkolup says risks associated with infusions include infection or side effects from the medication.

“We go through all that with patients beforehand and take all the precautions we need to take to make sure that they’re safe and that they’re appropriate for the therapy and that we’re monitoring them, which is exactly why we have nurses with them the entire time that they’re here and monitoring,” said Dr. Woschkolup.

Nurse McEntyre says infusions can take anywhere from 5 minutes to six hours or more.

To submit a health topic for our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, click here.