If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, one of the next things you will need to do is work with your doctor to agree on a treatment approach. Most patients do really well on drugs that calm down the immune system to keep it from attacking the joint tissue any further. But the thing is, there are two key ways these medications can be administered — via injections you give yourself at home or via an infusion you receive at a treatment center. Many patients find that infusions are the better choice, but this approach does have its pros and its cons, both of which deserve your consideration.
Pro: You do not have to learn to inject yourself.
Some people can comfortably give themselves injections from day one. Others feel squeamish at first, but they get used to it. And still others are completely uncomfortable with the idea of injecting themselves. They may even faint or feel like fainting at the thought of doing so. Infusions allow you to avoid having to learn to inject yourself and fight the inner demons that may come with that challenge. A doctor or nurse will insert the IV for the infusion into your arm. You can look away, listen to relaxing music, or do whatever else you need to do to keep yourself comfortable during this process.
Con: You have to drive or be driven to a treatment facility.
If you choose infusions to manage your rheumatoid arthritis, this does mean you'll have to commit to driving to the treatment facility. If your mobility is limited and you struggle to drive, this may mean asking a family member to drive you, which can be inconvenient.
Pro: You don't need the treatment as often.
Generally, most patients start off getting infusions once a week. Then after a few weeks, they move to an every-other-week schedule. Eventually, they're able to have an infusion once a month. For comparison's sake, if you opt for at-home injections for RA management, you will often need to continue with treatments once a week. Infusions allow for less-frequent treatment, which is nice if you do not like needles or if you have post-treatment side effects that you'd rather deal with once a month than once a week.
For many patients, heading to a treatment center for infusions is preferable to taking RA shots at home. Talk to your doctor for more insight before making your final decision.
To learn more, contact a resource like Idaho Arthritis Center.