Healthy Living

Risks of Immunotherapy

Risks of Immunotherapy

If you are undergoing immunotherapy, there are things that will be unseen, missed, or ignored that could lead to undesirable reactions or results. These reactions will range from allergic reactions to the therapy being continually rejected by your body.

However, doctors have after years of research and narrowed down the time of potential allergic reactions to 30 minutes after the injection. That is why you will be required to undergo some tests and other observations that will determine whether or not you are fit to leave the hospital after the injections. Immune responses have been known to take place within a 30-minute mark.

These reactions will be discussed below in this insightful article about the risks that you are likely to face after and during an immunotherapy. As it is with the practice of medicine, there will always be risks that you will have to face and how they are dealt with will determine how you turn out in the end. Some immune responses are mild, but for some people, such as asthmatic patients, their reaction to therapy could be fatal.

1. Swelling and itching of the injection site

Right after your injection, you will normally feel the pain that accompanies any type of injection. Since the main cause of complications is an allergic reaction, you should be keen about what happens next. You will be required to monitor the changes that lead toward an allergic reaction.

The symptoms to watch out for include itching and swelling of the injection site. When such thing happens, immediately alert your doctor. You may also notice redness at the site of injection. These symptoms will point toward an undesirable reaction that could turn fatal.

2. Allergy symptoms

Apart from the injection site, if something is not right, you may notice a change in your face and neck. Such changes will be indicated by the manifestation of the following things:

  • your eyes will start to tear up and your face will feel full and puffy
  • you will have the urge to scratch your skin
  • your throat will in some cases start closing up

Having these signs and symptoms will be the cue for you to call for help as soon as possible. Otherwise, your symptoms might escalate to a life-threatening condition. These symptoms are very important and watching out for them may be just what you need to save your life.

3. Death

Whenever you go for immunotherapy, you may be risking death, which happens when an allergic reaction is not stopped in time. Death can happen to any patient if the injections are not properly monitored and controlled. When a patient goes into shock, death will most likely to occur.

However, according to statistics, 1 in every 2 million injections can result in death. Therefore, you can undergo an immunotherapy knowing that the mortality rate is very low and that you will absolutely make it back home.

4. Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain in immunotherapy is usually experienced due to the body reacting to the administered drugs. Some drugs cannot easily coexist and in the effort to reject the foreign substance, the body will cause other reactions that will ultimately lead to an abdominal pain.

These reactions are not fatal. Moreover, if you are well-rested, you can cope with the pain and can better handle the discomforts brought about by the therapy.

5. Nausea and vomiting

When your body detects a substance and is not familiar with it, your system will get it out of your body by any means possible. Elimination of a foreign substance can range from sweating to vomiting, but most of the time, through vomiting.

That is the reason why you will feel nauseated after an immunotherapy. However, if your condition is a bit severe and you tend to excessively vomit, the doses in your therapy can be adjusted and will have to be changed according to your body's response and needs.

6. Respiratory difficulties

Sometimes, the body is unable to successfully inhibit foreign agents to access your system, and this will cause certain reactions that cannot be fully controlled, thereby making you feel ill.

One common problem is the clogging up of the throat, nose, and lungs, which is commonly referred to as "seizing up". The contraction is painful and the patient will feel uncomfortable and scared.

However, you should worry much about it because the doctors will have you tested for it, and the chances of this condition from happening are low.

The Precautions to Take

The 30-minute Observation

After administering the injection, the doctor will require you to stay in the hospital for up to 30 minutes. The reason is that most allergic reactions from the injections take place within this time frame.

It is also true that the occurrence of these reactions is not entirely limited to 30 minutes and may appear after the 30-minute mark is over. Therefore, it is important that you are careful and that you have emergency protocols for contacting help when such situation happens.

Regular Checkups

After undergoing immunotherapy, you will be advised to return for a regular monthly checkup or after a specified period scheduled by your doctor to see how well the drugs are working.

New Drugs and Pregnancy

Whenever you start using new drugs, inform the doctor who gives you the injections. If you are pregnant, do the same and you will save yourself and the doctor a lot of trouble. Certain drugs react to each other and create undesirable immune responses.

Moreover, pregnant women will be at risk of having abnormal body functions if they don’t inform the doctor of their pregnancy.

Bottom Line

The important thing to keep in mind about immunotherapy risks is that although you may experience them at one time or another, there is no need for you to worry since most of the time, they are not fatal. Knowing such information can be very helpful because if you are knowledgeable about your therapy, the procedure becomes easier for you to take and you will not be too scared to go through it.