Dealing with the side-effects of intravenous Solu-Medrol treatment (full sample)

Dealing with the side-effects of intravenous Solu-Medrol treatment (full sample)

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Intravenous Solu-Medrol, or IVSM, is a medical procedure used to deal with several conditions and illnesses. Although IVSM can be effective in treating and managing certain conditions, its side effects can be challenging. In this article we look at what patients can expect as a result of IVSM treatment and provide suggestions and advice on how to deal with the side-effects.

Intravenous Solu-Medrol (IVSM) is a technique used to help sufferers of various illnesses, such as inflammation and allergies, manage their conditions. IVSM treatment involves injecting high doses of glucocorticoid steroids, specifically methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol®) via an intravenous line. IVSM is often used to treat acute flare-ups of certain conditions, and although it can be effective in helping sufferers deal with their illnesses, the side effects of the treatment itself can be difficult to deal with. In this article we'll explore some of the methods that patients can use to minimize and control the side effects and discomfort caused by IVSM.

Conditions treated by IVSM

Some of the conditions and illnesses that can be treated by IVSM include:

  • Blood disorders and diseases.

  • Cancers of various types.

  • Serious allergic reactions.

  • Some eye conditions.

  • Some diseases of the skin, intestines, lungs or kidneys.

  • Immune system disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

IVSM works by reducing the response of a patient's immune system to various diseases, resulting in a beneficial lessening of pain and swelling.

Managing the side effects of IVSM

The side effects from IVSM are many and varied and will be individual to the patient being treated. The following techniques can be used to minimize the problems and discomfort caused by IVSM.

  • Finding veins for an IV line - If your nurse is finding it difficult to locate a vein into which to insert an IV needle, make sure to drink plenty of fluids beforehand. Being well hydrated will make it easier to see a vein and insert an IV needle.

  • Dealing with headaches as a result of IVSM - If you regularly suffer with headaches due to IVSM, speak to your nurse about slowing down your IVSM treatment. For example, if you normally take your IVSM over 90 minutes, you might want to take it over two hours. This can reduce the likelihood of headaches.

  • Reducing anxiety - Using IVSM can cause patients to feel hyper-alert and anxious because of the stress that the medication itself can cause. As a result, it's important to rest and reduce sensory stimulation after an IVSM treatment.

  • Managing heartburn, acid reflux or digestive pain - IVSM can increase digestive acid production, resulting in discomfort. Taking Zantac or other antacid medications as directed by your physician will help control and reduce the effects of digestive acid.

  • Dealing with a horrible taste in the mouth - Use of IVSM can leave some patients with a metallic taste in their mouth. Drinking grape juice, sucking on mints or hard candies can help to reduce these tastes.

  • Coping with feelings of hunger - Healthy, potassium-rich foods can help a patient deal with the hunger pangs that are often caused by IVSM. Bananas, apricots, beets and beans can all reduce these feelings of hunger due to their high potassium content.

  • Getting to sleep - IVSM can cause insomnia. Find out if you can be prescribed insomnia medication, for example Zolpidem or Ambien for the short-term to help deal with this.

  • Living with mood-swings, depression or anxiety - Some of the more common side effects associated with IVSM are depression, anxiety and mood-swings. If you are experiencing any of these, first speak with your family and friends and get some support from them. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe some short-term anti-anxiety medication.

  • Coping with a weakened immune system - Because IVSM does weaken the immune system and puts your body under stress, you may be more susceptible to infection. If you start to suffer from a cough, cold or fever, talk to a physician.

In closing

IVSM is very much the lesser of two evils. Although it can help manage and treat various conditions, its side effects can be very challenging. When you understand how IVSM will affect you, you can take steps to minimize it’s impact on you and make it easier to deal with.

Content originally written by Paul Maplesden, a freelance writer, and edited by me.

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