Medication Administration Through Enteral Feeding Tubes

Nancy Toedter Williams, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCNSP

Disclosures

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2008;65(24):2347-2357. 

In This Article

General Recommendations and Conclusion

Since the enteral route is increasingly used as a means of medication administration, health care providers need to be cognizant of the potential complications and limitations associated with this method of drug delivery. Dosage formulations should be carefully selected and appropriately prepared for administration via the enteral feeding tube. Establishing guidelines within the health system or home infusion practice site for safe and effective delivery of medications via this route will help minimize drug–nutrient interactions and tube occlusions. Medications should not be mixed directly with enteral formulations, and feeding tubes should be properly flushed with water before and after each medication is administered. When medications are given via the enteral route, pharmacists should be consulted for assistance in selecting appropriate dosage formulations or therapeutic equivalents, as well as for recommendations to minimize drug–nutrient interactions and ensure optimum drug delivery. Patients should be routinely monitored for appropriate clinical response to their medications. The box summarizes guidelines for administering medications to patients receiving EN.

Conclusion

Successful drug delivery through enteral feeding tubes requires consideration of tube size and placement as well as careful selection and appropriate administration of drug dosage forms.

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