Routes Of Drug Administration

There are various routes through which drugs can be administered to patient. The routes depends on the type of drug to be given. The three most commonly used routes are orally, rectally and injections.

1. Oral Route- This is taking Drugs by mouth. The Drugs given through this route include mixtures or suspensions, pills, tablets and capsules.

2. Rectal Route: This is introducing drug through the rectum. Such drugs include Suppositories and Enema.

3. Injections: This route is used when fairly quick action is required and when the drug would be altered by gastric juice. To give injection to patients. Make Sure that:

a. The injection is prescribed one and that the name of the drug is written on the ampoule or on the label placed on the ampoule.

b. You use a drug file to scratch the neck of the ampoule and then protecting the fingers with a cotton wool or wool gauze, break the ampoule at the neck.

c. After drawing up the drug into the sterile syringe, ensure that air bubbles are expelled, if any, before injection. This will prevent air embolism and its dangerous sequels.

The followings are routes of giving injections:

Intramuscular = Into a muscle

Intravenous = Into a vein

Subcutaneous = Under the dermis

Intra-arterial = Into an artery

Intra-thecal = Into the sub-arachnoid space

Intra-atrium= Into the atrium of the heart.

The intramuscular route is the most commonly used. It is usually given in the gluteal muscle, of the buttocks or in the thigh. Care must be taken to avoid injury to the sciatic.

Giving injections through the intravenous requires extra care:

1. Identify a straight vein.

2. Tie a tournique above the point the needle will be inserted and clean vein with a wet spirit swab.

3. Insert the needle of the syringe containing the drug to be inserted, and slightly withdraw the piston. If blood enters the syringe, then it is inside the vein.

4. Remove the tournique and inject the drug either slowly or as a bolus depending on the type of drug.

5. Remove the syringe and needle and use a dry swab to apply a gentle pressure on the site.

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It should be emphasized that not all drugs are given intravenously. Always follow doctor’s prescription and cross check with him or her if you are not too sure of what is written.

OTHER METHODS OF DRUG ADMINISTRATION:

1. Inunction: Here the drug is introduced by rubbing it into the skin. Example of such a drug us the ointment and balms.

2. Inhalation: This is the inhaling of vapour into the respiratory tract from a container or from a piece of material where the drug is dropped. Example is vicks vapour rub, used in catarrh and ventolin inhaler used by asthmatic.

3. Instillation: A few drops of drug may for instance be introduced into the eye or the ear by a pipette or by using a special dropper. Examples of such drugs are eye drops, ear drops, and nasal drops.

4. Insertion: The drug administrated through this route are made of gelatin base. Such drugs include pessaries and bougies that can be introduced into the vagina or urethra.

5. Insufflation: This is blowing of a power into a cavity or on to mucus membrane. An example is insufflating cicatrin powder or penicillin powder into a wound. A special appliance called an insufflator is used. Such powders are supplied in plastic containers which when squeezed, act as an insufflator.

6. Implantation: Drug here is placed under the skin and is slowly absorbed.

7. Iontophoresis: Introducing drugs into the tissue by means of electric current. It is commonly used in physiotherapy clinics. Example is infra red rays.

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