June 2, 2020

Are Infusions Advised During COVID-19?

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, with over 100,000 confirmed cases, many patients have concerns or fears as to whether they should continue their infusion therapy. Patients with autoimmune diseases may be at a high risk for COVID-19. However, this does not mean to automatically stop infusions.  

Concern is growing and not limited to one specialty. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) states, “There are multiple factors to consider when determining whether a patient should discontinue therapy. These include: the potential impact of immune modulating therapies on outcomes for infected patients; the impact on a patient’s rheumatic disease-related outcome when changing or interrupting their treatment; and patient access to treatment.” Each patient case is unique; therefore, all decisions should be made by the overseeing medical professional and the involved patient.

Providers like Robert Fox, MD, neurologist at the Mellen Center for MS stated, “At this point, The Mellen Center at the Cleveland Clinic is recommending that patients not cancel, interrupt, or delay scheduled doses of their MS medication. We believe that the way the medications work, the duration of action of these medications, and the risks of MS disease activity coming back are all reasons to continue MS therapies without interruption,” Fox said. “Given what we know about the current risks of COVID-19, MS therapy interruptions appear more likely to be harmful than helpful.”

The American Gastroenterology Association (AGA) suggest patients with IBD should continue IBD therapies, including all scheduled infusions. Currently, there is no evidence that having IBD increases the risk of a SARS-CoV-2 infection or developing COVID-19. However, the guidelines recommend for patients with IBD who develop COVID-19 to stop medications such as thiopurines, methotrexate, and tofacitinib, as well as biological therapies including anti-TNF, ustekinumab, and vedolizumab. Patients who contract the virus can restart these therapies after the complete resolution of COVID-19 symptoms. Ultimately, patients should speak with their healthcare team before stopping any medication.  

During this pandemic we have seen hospitals scale back outpatient infusions which unfortunately has impacted patients who do not have the option to receive infusions at their doctor’s office. Understanding both this need and the current state, OI Infusion has been able to work towards establishing in-office infusion centers for private practices so that their patients can receive treatment without therapy interruption.  

  • Have you been thinking of offering infusions for months/years but never taken the next step?  
  • Are your patients tired of going to the hospital or cancer center for their infusion?
  • If your practice is infusing, are you losing money or getting denials?

If your answer is YES to any of the above questions, we would be more than happy to listen. You can visit oi-infusion for more information or to request a call from our infusion team.

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