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AAKP Innovator Series: Pentec Health

In 1983, “PENtech Infusions” began as a small regional pharmacy meeting the needs of dialysis patients and patients with severe pain or spasticity. Over the years, we expanded into a leading provider in both industries. In 2006, “PENtech Infusions” was renamed Pentec Health to better reflect our leadership as a diverse healthcare company.

As a provider of renal nutrition therapy, we have served thousands of dialysis patients who have trouble maintaining optimum nutritional status. When patients are on dialysis, their protein and calorie needs are higher. Protein is essential for tissue repair and wound healing as well as protecting against infections. Dialysis patients need about 50 percent more protein than those who don’t require dialysis. This is true for many different reasons. However, one may not be aware that the dialysis treatment itself actually decreases the amount of protein in your blood and can lead to a complication called ‘Protein Energy Wasting’ (PEW).

Even if patients follow their dialysis diet very carefully, they may still have a hard time getting vital nutrition through food and dietary supplements alone. They may also experience poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. This can lead to low protein levels, malnutrition, and/or weight loss. As a result, they may have difficulty tending to their daily activities. Intradialytic parenteral nutrition (IDPN) and intraperitoneal parenteral nutrition (IPN) can provide significant amounts of needed protein without having to drink or eat. 

Unfortunately, traditional IDPN has not always been well-tolerated by patients. In 2008, our nationally recognized expert in IDPN, Eileen Moore, set out to solve the tolerance issues associated with this renal nutrition therapy. Through her experience and discussions with clinicians, she recognized that the main problem was with certain components of traditional IDPN solutions, which caused many side effects including nausea, vomiting, and chills. Eileen’s expertise led to the creation of newer, better tolerated IDPN solutions for malnourished hemodialysis patients—Proplete®.

The introduction of the Proplete® family of IDPN and IPN therapy was the change that patients and clinicians needed. These new weight-based IDPN solutions had several advantages for both patients and the nurses administering them. Our therapy provides patients with protein, contains the minimal amount of dextrose (a type of carbohydrate), and may also contain lipids (a type of fat) for additional calories when needed—all while reducing tolerance issues typically seen with traditional therapies. The therapy is administered with dialysis with the goal of improving appetite, strength, and energy. Our company has now become a leading provider of IDPN and IPN protein therapies for malnourished dialysis patients. Visit our website, www. proplete.com, to hear stories from real Pentec Health patients whose quality of life has been drastically improved after beginning our renal nutrition therapy.

So how do you know if you meet criteria for IDPN or IPN? One of the many tests your doctor may order is a serum albumin test, which measures the amount of albumin in your blood. Albumin is a protein made by the liver. It carries nutrients and hormones throughout the body and prevents fluid from leaking out of the bloodstream, so it’s important to have adequate levels. If your albumin levels are consistently low, you may experience some of the side effects of low protein that we mentioned. Studies show that you may also have an increased risk of hospitalization or other poor outcomes. Your health care provider may recommend various protein supplementation methods to help your levels. You can ask them about IDPN if you receive hemodialysis and IPN if you administer peritoneal dialysis. 

Once we receive a referral, our Clinical Assistance Team will review your information to ensure you qualify. Our Clinical Assistance Program supports clinicians in your treatment by providing a clinical case manager that specializes in renal nutrition and nutrition support and strives to maximize a patient’s response to IDPN and IPN therapy. They review outcomes quarterly and as needed and offer suggestions throughout the course of treatment. We also offer support from our pharmacy by contacting the patient prior to the start of care and answering any questions the patient may have.

At Pentec Health, our ultimate goal is to improve patients’ quality of life by helping them reach optimal nutritional status during treatment. To learn more, visit proplete.com or call us at 800-223-4376.

This article is from aakpRENALIFE July/August 2021.