Healthy Living

What to Expect After Immunotherapy

What to Expect After Immunotherapy

Key Takeaways

  • Immunotherapy is a process that involves the use of the body’s natural defenses in fighting against diseases.
  • Fatigue, weight loss, and joint pain are some of the things you should expect after an immunotherapy.
  • A lowered blood pressure is one of the aspects of your recovery period that you will have to closely monitor. 

Immunotherapy involves using the body’s natural defenses in fighting against diseases. It usually involves the use of drugs that are made in a laboratory. The introduction of these foreign substances in the body to trigger a certain reaction will produce certain symptoms, which are termed as side effects. The recovery process will include dealing and accepting new changes after an immunotherapy. Some side effects will disappear after the treatment is done and some will not even stay around for long.

It will all depend on how much of the substances you are getting in your system every time you visit the doctor. Since immunotherapy work in the ways listed below, you can expect that the accelerated pace at which the immune system will work, is going to cause some effects in the recovery process. After having an immunotherapy, you may experience some of the following conditions:

  • pain at the site of injection
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • lowered blood pressure
  • weight gain
  • chills
  • aches in joints
  • nausea and vomiting
  • symptoms similar to a flu

Types of Immunotherapy

  • Interferon - are made to target the cancer cells in the body and they work by slowing down cancerous growths. This treatment is known to cause the thinning of hair, rashes, and flu-like symptoms. It will also make you susceptible to infections that come along.
  • Interleukin - contrary to the interferon, this one works by stimulating the immune responses. The symptoms are almost similar to the ones mentioned above. You will also experience the flu-like symptoms, but you will also gain weight, and most likely have a low blood pressure. The good thing is that these symptoms can be remedied with other medications. 
  • Cytokine - works in the same way as the other two, which causes flu-like symptoms that are accompanied by rashes, fatigue, bone joint aches, and fatigue.

The following are some of the things that manifest in people who have undergone immunotherapy:

Pain at the injection site

Due to the high number of injections that you will receive, there will be pain at the injection sites, which will disappear when after finishing the recommended dosage. The needles that are used to inject such medications are often a little bit more painful than their other counterparts. However, there's no need for you to worry since the pain that you'll experience is quite tolerable, and will not cause any long-term problems.

Fever

Therapeutic drugs are known to cause fever because of their nature and the way they work. When they are introduced to the body, it will take some time before they are accepted and integrated into one's system. This process will most likely cause you to have a little fever that can be tolerated. It should not worry you because you will be prescribed with medications when such situation arises.

Fatigue

Due to the accelerated activity that will be taking place in your body, you will experience fatigue. The medications have a side effect of drugging the brain. However, this side effect is normal and not severe. The best way to deal with it is to consume healthy food and get plenty of rest. Fatigue will most likely go away after a few hours when the injection is done. The most intense time of feeling the fatigue in full is 30 minutes after the injection has taken place. This time is usually spent at the hospital to monitor any reactions that may occur.

Lowered blood pressure

A lowered blood pressure is one of the aspects of your recovery period that you will have to closely monitor. The doctors will advise you on how to deal with it and the situation will resolve on its own when you are done with immunotherapy. The other good thing is that the condition has a remedy that will be recommended by a doctor so that you can live without fear of it becoming worse. The drugs are made specifically for immunotherapy patients to use.

Weight gain

When you have undergone the process of immunotherapy, you are most likely to gain weight. Apart from the drugs' side effects, you will gain weight due to the factors that are a result of the other side effects. Fatigue will require you to have more rest, which means lesser time for exercises or movements. Moreover, you will be required to stick to certain types of foods that will ultimately lead to a significant weight gain. These mentioned factors and other factors combined are enough to make you gain weight.

Chills

Chills are usually accompanied by flu-like symptoms or fever. It varies with the type of therapy you underwent and what your body is like. This reaction will happen to some patients but may fail to manifest in others.

Joint aches

When you have fatigue, you will be required to have lots of rest. Aside from being fatigued, you will also feel pain in your joints. The reason why your joints ache is due to the direct effect of the therapy itself as the drug traverses your body and searches for its target.

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting may happen mostly within thirty minutes after the injection of the drug. It is caused by the effect of the drugs in the body. Vomiting is a sign that the body is rejecting the drug that has been introduced. The feeling of being chafed is also caused by the same. The good news is that the body will get used to the therapy as it progresses and will adapt to make it part of your system. 

Symptoms similar to a flu

These symptoms appear in certain types of therapies or sometimes it will all depend on the patient and how his or her body handles the drug.

Bottom Line

The good thing is that you will now know what to expect during and after an immunotherapy. It may sound terrifying and you may feel that it's not worth the risk, but looking at the advances made and the success stories that are testified by the patients who had lost hope, immunotherapy remains to be a reliable treatment to try.