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Length of IV Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is most often given by IV infusion (through a flexible tube placed in a vein). Depending on the type and number of medications, the length of your IV treatment may range from hours to days.

Woman sitting in chair with IV in arm. Healthcare provider is adjusting IV pump.
Chemotherapy is often given in an outpatient setting.

Your IV Experience

To make this time more pleasant, wear comfortable clothes. You can also read or listen to music. Following are the most common types of IV treatment:

  • An IV push (or IV bolus) is given over a few minutes. This type of infusion is often given in an outpatient setting. This may be in a hospital, at a clinic, or at your doctor’s office. Sometimes it’s given at home with the help of a visiting nurse.

  • An IV fusion is given over 30 minutes to several hours. It is often given in an outpatient setting, but sometimes it may require an overnight stay or one or more days at the hospital. In some cases, IV infusions may be given at home.

  • Continuous infusion may last for days or weeks at a time. The medications are delivered by a portable pump that can be worn at home. This allows patients to receive chemotherapy and continue normal activities at the same time.

Online Medical Reviewer: Alteri, Rick, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Foster, Sarah, RN, MPH
Last Review Date: 12/5/2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.