When oral medications to treat your multiple sclerosis (MS) no longer deliver the best results, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center offers infusion therapies to help minimize symptoms, slow the progression of neurological disabilities and decrease the risk of future MS attacks.

Our infusion sites are conveniently located across central Ohio:

Every infusion location gives you a variety of scheduling options and we can help you establish a consistent repeat appointment time when available. Each location offers easy access and free surface parking; at Martha Morehouse Outpatient Care, you can use paid valet parking weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an onsite valet attendant available until 8 p.m.

What’s an infusion?

An infusion delivers liquid medication using an adjustable pump that’s connected to a catheter or small needle inserted under your skin. The pump allows changes in dosage or length of infusion time. The infusion medications most commonly given to patients with MS are:

  • Natalizumab (Tysabri) – reduces the transfer of immune cells in the central nervous system to reduce episodes of relapsing MS by about two-thirds. Because it carries a small risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a serious brain infection, patients taking this drug will be closely monitored for PML symptoms such as progressive weakness and visual or cognitive changes that might not be reversible. The risk of PML is increased if blood tests reveal the patient has antibodies to what’s called John Cunningham virus, if immunosuppressive drugs have been taken previously or if natalizumab is taken for more than two years.
  • Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) – used for both relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and primary-progressive MS (PPMS) to reduce relapses and slow disease progression. Typically, it’s first infused twice in two weeks, followed by one infusion every six months as needed. Common reactions include headache, rash, nausea and fever. A steroid or antihistamine may be recommended before each infusion to reduce these side effects.
  • Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) – targets a protein on the surface of immune cells and depletes the number of white blood cells to limit nerve damage and reduce MS relapses. This drug can increase the risk of infections or autoimmune disorders, so there will be ongoing safety monitoring, as well as health screening before the first infusion. This medication is usually given for five consecutive infusion days, followed by three infusion days a year later. Common reactions to alemtuzumab include headache, rash, nausea and fever.
  • Rituximab (Rituxan) – although not originally developed for use in MS, this drug is prescribed for its ability to impact immune response by depleting B-cells, and it’s been proven effective for both relapsing and progressive MS. It’s often infused every six to 12 months. Some of the more common reactions to this drug are headache, fever, chills, stomach pain and digestive upset. If receiving a rituximab infusion, you’ll also be screened for any symptoms of PML, as is done for natalizumab.

A personalized MS treatment at Ohio State

Female provider in blue scrubs performing infusion on arm of woman seated in comfortable chairWhether you receive one of these four drugs or another infusion medication, your own prescription will be personalized based on the type of MS you have, your symptoms, your sensitivity to potential side effects and how your body responds to initial infusion sessions.

We want regular infusion treatments to cause as little interruption to your life as possible. Having a convenient location for your infusions can make it easier to work MS treatments into your daily routine, and the features of our infusion centers are intended to make you feel more comfortable, relaxed and even more productive during the downtime you must build into your schedule.

Scheduling an infusion appointment

Different infusion prescriptions require different timing between dosages. Each patient’s neurologist or nurse can assist with scheduling, or a patient can schedule directly once they have the recommended infusion schedule from their doctor and can compare it to their personal calendar.

To schedule directly, patients can:

Before your infusion

Prior to receiving a new drug infusion, your MS care team will review your symptoms and screen for any potential risk factors or health concerns that may impact treatment recommendations.

We’ll consider your entire health history, including prior drug reactions, chronic health concerns, current or prior viral infections, recent vaccinations, the possibility of pregnancy, if you are breastfeeding and what other medications you may be taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Women should use effective birth control when receiving infusion treatment and for a certain period of time after the last dose, often 12 months. Prior to your infusion, we’ll explain potential infusion reactions and give recommendations for minimizing or preventing them when possible.

During your infusion

In the day of your infusion, we’ll provide as much privacy and comfort as possible during the procedure and will monitor you for any dangerous or unexpected side effects. We’ll review these potential side effects again before your release.

During an infusion, you’ll have access to free Wi-Fi, a remote-controlled television, warm blankets, comfortable furnishings with space for a visitor and a call-button in case you need assistance or have a question.

After your infusion

Whether it’s your first infusion or a repetitive dose of the same medication, we’ll schedule any required monitoring or screening tests during your infusion visit, so you know what upcoming appointments to expect. Your MS care team will continue to monitor changes in symptoms or side effects to adjust future infusions as appropriate.

Infusions, just like every other MS treatment done at Ohio State, is delivered by a health care team that focuses on MS every single day. We have extensive experience with and understand the benefits, risks and side effects of each infusion option, as well as how adjustments in dosage or timing might impact your symptoms. We’re immersed in the latest MS research and know about new infusion drugs even before they’re widely available or still limited to clinical trials.

Safety and cleanliness

We’ve always prioritized safety and cleanliness at our infusion suites to reduce the spread of infection and diseases, and we’ve added even more precautions due to COVID-19.

Each patient will be prescreened for any symptoms of illness, including fever. All surfaces in common areas are routinely cleaned and sanitized, as are individual infusion bays prior to each patient use.

Our care team will also use hand sanitizer or wash our hands before we enter and after we leave an infusion bay, and we’ll wear medical-grade masks and gloves.

Learn more about MS

Learn more about MS

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