LEMTRADA: Helpful Strategies to Stay Comfortable During Infusions By MS One to One • January 31, 2017
Hey, I’m Brenda and I’m a registered nurse who joined the MS One to One team in 2015. It’s truly rewarding for me to be able to empower my patients to reach their goals. And that’s why I’m writing this post—because once my patients decide to start treatment with LEMTRADA, there’s some learning involved, and I’m here to help!
So at this point, you may have decided to start LEMTRADA as well! Now you’re probably wondering what to expect and how the infusion process will go—so let me fill you in on infusion prep. I’ve put together some tips to help you prepare.
I always tell my patients that staying hydrated is an important part of keeping your body healthy. Keep water with you at all times—and drink, drink, drink! Staying hydrated will help your kidneys function properly to remove wastes and toxins and help regulate your temperature. Don’t wait until after infusions to start thinking about drinking some water. If you’ve already made a habit of drinking water before starting treatment, it won’t be as difficult after treatment.
What fluids can you drink? I always recommend drinking water—and plenty of it! We all know some beverages are healthier than others. But any liquids—juices, sports drinks, and even sodas should work. Caffeine is not a banned substance…BUT it can contribute to fluid loss. Decaf beverages will help you maintain hydration better.
Keep it moving
The chairs in the infusion center are meant to be comfortable for those who need to be in them for long periods of time. However, it is important to at least change positions every 15 minutes or so (depending on your mobility status and skin condition). Sit up in the chair. Stand up. Stretch a little. All these things will make it easier for you to get up and walk out of the infusion center each day. If you use pressure relief aids at home (wheelchair cushions or padding for bony areas such as hips, ankles, and elbows), bring them with you and use them as you normally would.
Bring your stuff
If you have medications due during the day, please bring them with you to the infusion center. You should also bring an accurate list of your routine medications with you to any appointment, because the infusion nurse may ask you if you took any medications that morning, and it’s important that you can provide this information to help the nurse take excellent care of you!
Here is a sample of what “stuff” you may need to bring:
- Medications (including those that are taken “as needed”)
- List of medications you take, including the dose and how often it is taken
- Assistive devices, like a wheelchair, scooter, cane, walker, cushions, or catheters
- Jacket or sweater in case you get cold
- Toiletries/sanitary items
Notify the nurse if you notice a change
Nurses have keen assessment skills. They constantly assess you as they talk to you about your family, your multiple sclerosis, your fears, and your treatment. BUT…they are not mind readers. Please tell your nurse if you begin to feel different in any way. Remember that even if a symptom is listed in the literature as a potential side effect of your medication, that doesn’t mean you have to “grin and bear it,” because they may be able to be treated. You should also report any changes in how you feel during or after treatment to the nurse. Also, if you experience side effects once you are released from the infusion center (during the week of infusions or afterward), you should report them to your healthcare provider right away.
Have a plan
Having a game plan makes most of us a little more confident going into a situation. In order to be adequately prepared, ask questions to put your mind at ease before the day of your infusion. Here is a sample of some questions to ask (and who to ask) before your first day of treatment:
Ask your doctor:
- Do I take my regular medicines before my LEMTRADA infusion each day?
- Will I take any premedications before I go for my infusion? If yes, when will they start?
- If I have a side effect when I get home, what do I do?
Wear comfortable clothing
Everyone wants to look nice, but no one wants to sit in a chair and be uncomfortable all day. There’s one comparison I like to make when I’m talking to my patients about what to wear to the infusion center. I tell them to think long airplane trip attire: loose and comfortable. You also may want to wear layers so you can warm up and cool down as needed.
Block out “the others” if you must
For some, treatment day is a visiting day. For others, it is a very private day. If you don’t want to talk to the other patients, bring headphones, an eye mask, or other items to help you do your treatment day, your way.
- INFUSION PREP
- MS ONE TO ONE
5 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company
By MS One to One, February 8, 2017
Hi, I’m Denise and I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years—I received my certification for MS nursing in 2014, when I joined
Attend a live event or watch one online to learn more about LEMTRADA.
More From this Blogger
Planning For Chair Time: Tips from an MS One to One Nurse
April 20, 2017
Hi there, I’m Marcia and I’m an MS One to One Nurse. Over the years I’ve ...
Finding MS Support Groups
March 13, 2017
Hi there, I’m Sandra and I have been a Registered Nurse since 19 ...
5 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company
February 8, 2017
Hi, I’m Denise and I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years—I received my certification ...