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What Is Rescue Therapy?

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  • Written By: S. Berger
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 08 May 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2020
    Conjecture Corporation
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Life-threatening complications can sometimes arise during the course of many types of medical conditions. Rescue therapy is the term for any non-surgical medical treatment meant to alleviate these dangerous situations. Often, they can involve a drug treatment, but treatments are not necessarily limited to medications. Common issues that can lead to a situation where rescue therapy may be required include asthma, heart problems, and diabetes. Sometimes, this term can apply to changing the multi-drug combinations that are used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) should the virus develop a resistance to the medications that an individual has been taken.

Asthma is a medical condition that can affect the ability to breathe normally, sometimes to the point of asphyxiation. In these situations, rescue therapy may be required to open up the lungs and airway. A common asthma therapy can include inhaled medications such as corticosteroids. Steroid drugs act to reduce inflammation, allowing breathing to resume normally.

Cardiovascular conditions can lead to heart attacks and other issues with heart rhythms. Certain cardiovascular problems may be treated with an appropriate rescue therapy. These may include injections of drugs that regulate the electrical messages sent between heart cells, or the use of defibrillators or other electrical devices that attempt to restore normal heart rhythm.

Cases of diabetes can sometimes lead to situations where rescue therapy is needed. Abrupt rises in blood sugar may occasionally occur, leading to the potential for unconsciousness, leaving the diabetic person unable to administer medication to treat themselves. Insulin therapy may be needed in these cases to convert some of the excess sugar for storage, and return it to acceptable levels in the blood. Low blood sugar may also create life-threatening risks, and are often treated by using glucagon as a release medication, as it can release stored sugars into the blood.

Bacterial and parasitic infections may sometimes be treated with an appropriate rescue therapy, as well. Malaria may lead to brain damage, in some cases, if allowed to progress, and drug treatment involving chloroquine may sometimes be used in an attempt to rapidly kill the parasite that causes this disease. Infections caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium may have several stages of rescue treatments, beginning with clarithromycin in many cases, and progressing to other antibiotics in the event that the initial treatment fails. Not all antimicrobial treatments are considered rescue therapies, however, as many do not involve situations where an individual's life is at stake.

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