IV drug administration
Mar 12, 2003
A friend of mine is having a lot of difficulty staying on drug regimens because of the nausea they always seem to cause. We were discussing this issue one evening, and inevitably we came to the question of why these drugs aren't administered through an IV in patients whose stomachs can't handle them in pill form?? When we posed this question to a nurse in his support group, he said that it was mostly because of costs: it was too expensive, and pills are infinitely cheaper and less hassle. Is this true, and if it is only cost-prohibitive, is it possible for my friend to have his drugs administered through IV at a private facility somewhere on the continent? I, too, am HIV+ but have not started therapy- and it's a little scarey to see such a violent bodily reaction to these drugs... Thanks so much for your help.
Response from Dr. Henry
It is unusual (but does happen) that a combination of meds can't be found that a patient can tolerate (if nausea is the problem then anti nausea meds such as Reglan, Marinol, Compazine, or Zofran can be used). Many of the HIV meds are not available in an IV formulation. In some cases I have put in a feeding tube (sometimes a Peg in the stomach) to bypass severe upper GI problems. IV lines are costly and put patients at risk for infection so there are many reasons why that route is rarely used. KH
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