Gastroenterology

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Infusion

About Your IBD Infusion

IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) infusion therapy is a therapeutic intravenous procedure that treats inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. When medications are administered intravenously (through an IV) this is called infusion. There are a variety of possible medications and therapies given during infusion that treat inflammatory bowel disease symptoms. These medications and therapies include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Hydration therapy such as electrolyte fluids
  • Steroids
  • Biologic therapies such as Remicade®, Humira®, Tysabri®, and Cimzia®

IBD infusion is performed when a patient does not respond well to other conventional treatment methods such as oral medications and suppositories. It is particularly beneficial for patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

The IBD infusion procedure:

  • Greatly reduces IBD symptoms
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Heals fistulae (abnormal communication between the bowel and adjacent organs)
  • Prevents complications of IBD that can lead to surgery and hospitalizations

Biologic Therapies for IBD Infusion

Biologic infusion therapies such as Remicade® are extremely useful for the treatment of IBD diseases. Remicade® consists of antibodies that block a naturally occurring substance in the body called TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor). TNF is thought to cause the inflammation that produces IBD symptoms. Because Remicade® blocks TNF, it has been known to effectively control and relieve symptoms of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Other TNF-inhibiting medications include Humira®, Cimzia® and Tysabri®.

IBD Infusion at Penn

Our IBD Infusion Center performs more than 5,000 outpatient services a year for patients suffering with inflammatory bowel disease. The Center is accredited by a number of national organizations including the American Association of Blood Banks, the College of American Pathologists and the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapies.

Our goal is to ensure the comfort of the patient during their IBD infusion procedure. Penn's infusion facility offers:

  • The latest technological advancements in infusion medication
  • A multi-disciplinary staff including gastroenterologists, pathologists, rheumatologists, immunologists and nurses
  • Nationally and regionally recognized experts who have extensive experience in all aspects of IBD treatment
  • Comfortable chairs, beds, pillows and blankets, well-lit treatment areas, televisions, Wi-Fi and beverages
  • A relaxed environment with compassionate caregivers

What to Expect During an IBD Infusion Procedure

When a patient comes to the infusion center, they are met by a receptionist that guides them to a comfortable, private area where the infusion procedure will take place. A physician determines the right dose of medication to be given and expert clinicians prepare the medications to be infused. A medication may also be given to lessen side effects that could occur during the infusion procedure. An IV (an intravenous line) is placed in the patients arm and the medical staff administers the medication. The patient has the option of relaxing in a comfortable lounge chair or bed if desired. The infusion process takes up to 2 hours to complete. During the procedure, a physician may run certain tests to monitor for side effects and to see how well a patient responds to treatment. In the event that side effects occur, the infusion process will be adjusted or stopped.

What to Expect After IBD Infusion

After the IBD infusion is complete, a clinician removes the patient's IV, vital signs are checked and the patient may rest comfortably. Discharge instructions are given and carefully reviewed with the patient. Before leaving the infusion center, patients may arrange for future infusion appointments and make follow-up appointments with their gastroenterologist.