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What are drug administration routes?

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2016 | Firm News, Medication Errors, Surgical Errors

Most in Providence County may tell you that drug errors occur when a healthcare provider gives a patient the wrong medication. While this certainly may be among the more common types of medication mistakes, the truth is that drug errors can occur any number of different ways. Almost as important as receiving the right drug is being administered the recommended dosage at the correct concentration. Beyond that, the administration route must also be considered. What are drug routes? They are the various methods through which a medication is introduced into your body.

If you are like most, then you envision a medication administration as you popping a pill into your mouth. Yet the website Healthline.com actually lists several different drug routes that providers may utilize. Listed below are the various methods through which drugs are dispensed:

  • By mouth: Oral pills or liquids, sublingual medications, buccal drugs (held inside the cheek)
  •  By nasal passage: inhalants, nasal sprays, nebulizer treatments
  • By injection: intramuscular or subcutaneous injections
  • By skin: transdermal patches, topical ointments
  • By delivery mechanism: intravenous infusions, enteral administrations via a G- or J-tube
  •  By other body openings: eye drops, ear drops, rectal suppositories

Why is the route through which a medication is delivered important? The method through which a drug enters the body influences how much or how strong of a dosage you will receive. For example, if your doctor wants a medication to have an instant effect, he or she may choose to introduce it directly into your bloodstream rather than having it metabolize through your liver. An overly concentrated dose could then have catastrophic effects due to it not having been detoxified through metabolism. Along the same lines, a diluted dose given orally may not allow the drug to serve its purpose, thus prolonging your pain and suffering.