How Do Home Infusions Stack Up?

One of the advantages of infusions in the office (or hospital) compared to home infusions and home injections is close communication by those giving the infusion with the physician.  In addition, with each infusion, in these settings offers an opportunity to review the patient’s progress and adjust the patients orders.  A recent study (Fenster M, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019;10.1016/cgh.2019.03.030.) indicates that these advantages may make infusions more successful than infusions given at home.

A summary is offered by Healio Gastroenterology: Home biologic infusions in IBD suffer from lack of monitoring

Researchers conducted a matched retrospective cohort study of patients treated with infliximab or vedolizumab with home infusion (n = 69) compared with hospital infusion at a large, tertiary care IBD center.  The primary endpoint was a composite of adverse outcomes, including stopping biologic therapy, IBD-related emergency department visit or IBD-related hospitalization.

  • “Patients on home infusion were more likely to experience adverse outcomes compared with control patients (43.5% vs. 21.7%; P = .006), and they also had a shorter time to adverse outcomes than patients who got hospital infusions.”
  • “Patients with home infusions trended toward stopping therapy within 1 year (20.3% vs. 8.7%; P = .053) and stopping therapy within the complete follow-up window (27.5% vs. 15.9%; P = .099) compared with controls.”
  • Patients with home infusions had “more emergency department visits (30.4% vs. 7.2%, P < .001), they did not have significantly more hospitalizations (17.4% vs. 11.6%).”

The authors noted that the “increase in adverse events might have been related to a reduced level of monitoring observed in home infusion patients. In the year following home infusion initiation or matching, patients who persisted on home infusions had significantly fewer IBD clinic visits (1.23 vs. 1.75; P = .018) compared with controls.”

My take (borrowed from a previous post): In my experience, office-based infusions can be provided safely and in a cost-effective manner.  While the convenience and potential cost-savings of home-based infusion are desirable, before implementing broadly, issues regarding communication, safety protocols, and documentation to allow modifications in therapy need to be proactively addressed. These issues could affect a patient’s long-term response to biologic therapy.

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