Bear Health Center
125 Baptist Way Suite: 1B
Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. / Sat. - Sun., 8 a.m. - noon
Schedule an appointment: 850.469.7936
Ciano Cancer Center at Gulf Breeze Hospital
1110 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Schedule an appointment: 850.469.7936
Outpatient Chemotherapy Infusion Center at Baptist Hospital
125 Bear Health Center Suite 1B
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Schedule an appointment: 850.469.7936
Infusions for Cancer:
- What is Chemotherapy?
- Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells, control their growth, or relieve pain symptoms. Chemotherapy may involve one drug, or a combination of two or more drugs, depending on the type of cancer and its rate of progression. Chemotherapy can be used in combination with other treatments such as surgery or radiation, to make sure all cancer cells have been eliminated.
Chemotherapy is administered in three ways:
- Intravenous (IV) is by far the most common method. A needle is inserted into a vein and attached with tubing to a plastic bag holding the chemotherapy drugs. The needle is taken out at the end of each treatment. For some patients who undergo several chemotherapy sessions, a catheter, another type of plastic tubing, is inserted into one of the large veins and left in place during the entire chemotherapy regimen. Some patients have a metal or plastic disc known as a "port" implanted under the skin, to serve as an IV connection device. IV bags are attached to a tall metal stand with wheels, providing some mobility. Some patients wear a small pump outside the body, with minimal interference to their normal routine. Other patients may have a drug pump surgically inserted into their body.
- Oral chemotherapy drugs are taken by mouth, either in pill or liquid form.
- Injections are administered into the muscle, under the skin, or directly into a cancer lesion, depending on the type or location of the cancer.
- Side effects vary from patient to patient and with the type of chemotherapy drugs used. The good news is that there are therapies to help you cope with some side effects, and lost hair does grow back, although sometimes in a different color or texture.
The most common side effects of chemotherapy include:
- Temporary hair loss
- Increased risk of infection
- Increased sun sensitivity
- Numbness or weakness in the hands and feet
- Download our Infusion brochure to learn more about Transfusions for Outpatients
- Blood Supply
- Baptist Hospital is supplied by the Northwest Florida Blood Center. Blood is collected from volunteer donors, most who are from the Pensacola area. Blood is collected in sterile, non-reusable bags. Each donor is screened for diseases according to regulations of the Food and Drug Administration and the American Association of Blood Banks. Every unit of blood is tested for hepatitis, the AIDS virus, and other disease-causing pathogens. The blood is used only when all tests are negative.
- Types of Blood Components
- When a unit of blood is collected and tested, it is separated into different components or parts. In that way, one unit of donor blood may meet the needs of more than one patient. Each component is prepared to supply what is needed.
- Types of Donors
- Unless requested by the patient, blood will be selected from volunteer donors who have your same or compatible blood type. If circumstances allow, you may request to be transfused with your own blood (autologous) or the blood of particular friends or family members (directed).
- Blood collection takes place at Northwest Florida Blood Center. All blood is tested under the same regulations as any other unit. The blood is then sent to the Baptist Hospital Blood Bank where it is stored until the patient is ready for the transfusion. Directed units are not safer than volunteer donor units, although you may feel more at ease knowing who donated the blood for you. There is an additional handling cost associated with both autologous and directed blood.
- If you want to use autologous or directed donor blood, you should contact your doctor for a written prescription. You or your doctor will schedule an appointment with the Blood Center (850.434.2535). It usually takes about three days for the blood to be collected and tested. For more information about these services, please call 850.469.2455.
- The Transfusion Procedure
- A sample of your blood will be collected before the transfusion. A special blood bank arm band links you to the sample of blood. You must leave this arm band on until after your transfusion. The sample is used by the hospital blood bank to find compatible blood. Even though your blood type does not change, a new sample must be collected for each transfusion. Rarely, a patient will develop blood factors which make it difficult to find compatible blood products. If so, it may be necessary to delay transfusion a few hours, overnight, or even longer until safe units can be obtained.
- Once the components are ready for transfusion, the Infusion Center nursing staff will prepare an intravenous (IV) site and take your temperature and blood pressure. You may be given Tylenol® or Benadryl® to make you feel more comfortable. The entire transfusion may take several hours. During the transfusion, the nurse will monitor you . If you start feeling badly, immediately tell your nurse. Every effort is made to ensure that the blood you receive is safe, but some patients are sensitive to things not identified in the testing.
- After the Transfusion
- Once the transfusion is complete, you will be asked to remain under supervision by the nurse for 15 to 20 minutes. When you go home, be aware of any side effects you may have.
Symptoms that may occur after your transfusion:
- Unexplained fever
- Hard, shaking chill
- Unusual headache
- Itching, welts or rash
- Dark urine
- Swelling of feet or hands
- Severe shortness of breath
- Bleeding at the IV site even after applying pressure
If any of these symptoms develop within two weeks after your transfusion, notify your doctor immediately.
- Packed Cells – Contains mostly red blood cells given to build up the ability to carry oxygen.
- Platelets – Very small cells that help control bleeding from bruising. They act as a natural "bandage" in your body. Platelets are usually given as "pooled platelets" from more than one donor or as a plateletpheresis from a single donor.
- Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP) – Used to replace clotting factors or other proteins that your body may be lacking. These clotting factors act with platelets to prevent bleeding. No platelets or red blood cells are in a unit of FFP.
- Cryoprecipitate – Replaces very specific clotting factors and the volume is much less than a unit of plasma.
- What are antibiotics?
- The U.S. National Library of Medicine says that antibiotics — powerful medicines that fight bacterial infections — can save lives when used properly. Antibiotics either stop bacteria from reproducing or kill them. Your body’s natural defenses can usually take it from there.
- Before bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms, the body’s immune system can usually destroy them. We have special white blood cells that attack harmful bacteria. Even if symptoms do occur, our immune system can usually cope and fight off the infection. There are occasions, however, when it is all too much and some help is needed... from antibiotics.
- How do antibiotics work?
Although there are a number of different types of antibiotics they all work in one of two ways:
- A bactericidal antibiotic kills the bacteria. Penicillin is a bactericidal. A bactericidal usually either interferes with the formation of the bacterium’s cell wall or its cell contents.
- A bacteriostatic stops bacteria from multiplying.
- What are antibiotics for?
- An antibiotic is given for the treatment of an infection caused by bacteria. Antibiotics target microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and parasites. However, they are not effective against viruses.
- If you have an infection it is important to know whether it is caused by bacteria or a virus. Most upper respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold and sore throats are generally caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not work against these viruses.
- If antibiotics are overused or incorrectly used there is a risk that the bacteria will become resistant — the antibiotic becomes less effective against that type of bacterium.
- A broad-spectrum antibiotic can be used to treat a wide range of infections. A narrow-spectrum antibiotic is only effective against a few types of bacteria. There are antibiotics that attack aerobic bacteria, while others work against anaerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria need oxygen, while anaerobic bacteria don’t.
- Antibiotics may be given beforehand, to prevent infection, as might be the case before surgery, called a ‘prophylactic’ use of antibiotics. They are commonly used before bowel and orthopaedic surgery.
- What are the side-effects of antibiotics?
Below is a list of the most common side-effects of antibiotics:
- Diarrhea – researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine found that a rise in sugars in the gut following antibiotic treatment allows harmful bacteria to get a foothold and cause infection. Harmful bacteria thrive on sugar.
- Feeling and being sick
- Fungal infections of the mouth, digestive tract and vagina
Below is a list of rare side-effects of antibiotics:
- Formation of kidney stones (when taking sulphonamides)
- Abnormal blood clotting (when taking some cephalosporins)
- Sensitivity to sun (when taking tetracyclines)
- Blood disorders (when taking trimethoprim)
- Deafness (when taking erythromycin and the aminoglycosides)
Infusions for Rheumatology Disorders:
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Medications can reduce inflammation in your joints in order to relieve pain and prevent or slow joint damage.
Occupational and physical therapy can teach you how to protect your joints. If your joints are severely damaged by rheumatoid arthritis, surgery may be necessary.
Many drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis have potentially serious side effects. Doctors typically prescribe medications with the fewest side effects first. You may need stronger drugs or a combination of drugs if your disease progresses.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- These drugs can slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Common DMARDs include methotrexate (Trexall), leflunomide (Arava), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine).
- Side effects vary, but may include liver damage, bone marrow suppression and severe lung infections.
- Biologic agents
- Also known as biologic response modifiers, this newer class of DMARDs includes: abatacept (Orencia), (Simponi), infliximab (Remicade), rituximab (Rituxan) and tocilizumab.
- Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
- Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus.
- Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. While there’s no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.
- Drugs that suppress the immune system may be helpful in serious cases of lupus. Potential side effects may include an increased risk of infection, liver damage, decreased fertility and an increased risk of cancer. A newer medication, belimumab (Benlysta), also reduces lupus symptoms in some people. Side effects include nausea, diarrhea and fever.
Infusions for Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.
Bone is living tissue, which is constantly being absorbed and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone.
Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races, but white and Asian women — especially those who are past menopause — are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.
For both men and women, the most widely prescribed osteoporosis medications are bisphosphonates. Examples include: Reclast and Zometa.
Side effects include nausea, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, and the risk of an inflamed esophagus or esophageal ulcers. These are less likely to occur if the medicine is properly taken.
Less common osteoporosis medications
If you can’t tolerate the more common treatments for osteoporosis — or if they don’t work well enough — your doctor might suggest trying:
- Denosumab (Prolia) – Compared with bisphosphonates, denosumab produces similar or better bone density results while targeting a different step in the bone remodeling process. Denosumab is delivered via a shot under the skin every six months. The most common side effects are back and muscle pain.
Infusions for Gastrointestinal Disorders:
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.
The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.
While there’s no known cure for Crohn’s disease, therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission. With treatment, many people with Crohn’s disease are able to function well.
- Infliximab (Remicade) – these drugs, called TNF inhibitors or “biologics,” work by neutralizing an immune system protein known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF). They are used for adults and children with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease to reduce signs and symptoms. They also may induce remission. Researchers continue to study these drugs to compare their benefits.
- Vedolizumab (Entyvio) – these drugs work by stopping certain immune cell molecules — integrins — from binding to other cells in your intestinal lining. Vedolizumab recently was approved for Crohn’s disease. It works like natalizumab but appears not to carry a risk of brain disease.
- Ulcerative colitis treatment usually involves either drug therapy or surgery.
- Several categories of drugs may be effective in treating ulcerative colitis. The type you take will depend on the severity of your condition. The drugs that work well for some people may not work for others, so it may take time to find a medication that helps you. In addition, because some drugs have serious side effects, you’ll need to weigh the benefits and risks of any treatment.
- Infliximab (Remicade) – these drugs, called tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors, or “biologics,” work by neutralizing a protein produced by your immune system. They are for people with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis who don’t respond to or can’t tolerate other treatments. People with certain conditions can’t take TNF-alpha inhibitors. Tuberculosis and other serious infections have been associated with the use of immunosuppressant drugs. These drugs also are associated with a small risk of developing certain cancers such as lymphoma and skin cancers.
- Vedolizumab (Entyvio) – this medication was recently approved for treatment of ulcerative colitis for people who don’t respond to or can’t tolerate biologics and other treatments. It works by blocking inflammatory cells from getting to the site of infection. It is also associated with a small risk of infection and cancer.