Medication taken by mouth (PO). This is the easiest and most economical way of administering medication. Do not give oral medications if the patient is lethargic, has decreased gastric function (nausea, vomiting), has NPO (nothing by mouth) orders, or is unable to swallow.
This medication is placed under the tongue to dissolve. The medication is absorbed through the mucosal membrane of the gums and should not be swallowed. Do not have the patient drink any water until the medication is fully dissolved.
This medication should be placed between the gum and cheek of the patient. Educate the patient to rotate sides of the mouth to prevent mucosal irritation.
This is a potential route of administration when the patient is unable to take oral medications. It can be given as a suppository or enema. Rectal medications avoid about 2/3 of first-pass metabolism.
This can be in the form of a nasogastric tube, duodenal tube, or G-tube. Medications will need to be crushed. Confirm with the pharmacist to see if the medication can be crushed.
These are placed directly on the skin as a patch and left for an extended amount of time. Extended release medications are used for longer therapeutic effect.
These can be given via eyes, nose, or ears. Always confirm how many drops or sprays will be administered on both sides. Medication is easily absorbed through mucosal membranes and can cause systemic effects.
Always be sensitive to the patient if medication is being administered through this route. It can be embarrassing and can cause irritation of the mucosal membrane.
Inhaled medications are used for rapid relief of respiratory problems or for anesthesia. These medications can enter directly into the bloodstream and cause severe systemic side effects.
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