Q – List the routes by which medication can be administered
*Orally – The majority of medicines are administered via this route. Tablets, capsules, liquids, suspensions and mixtures are all examples of medicines administered orally
*Sublingually – This is where tablets or liquids are administered under the tongue for speed of absorption. Common examples of medicines administered sublingually are GTN spray and tablets for angina or buprenorphine tablets for pain.
*Inhalation administration – This method is used mostly for patients who have chronic respiratory problems such as asthma. This enables the medicine to be delivered to the site where it is most needed – the lungs. Inhalers and nebules (For use in a nebuliser) are common examples of this route of delivery
*Intramuscular (IM) injection administration – This medicine is injected directly into large muscles in the body. Usually in the legs or bottom. This can only be performed by a doctor or trained nurse.
*Intravenous (IV) injection administration – The medicine is administered directly into the veins. Medicines are rapidly absorbed into the body via this route, which is advantageous when a situation is life threatening. Again this can only be performed by a doctor or trained nurse
*Subcutaneous injection administration – With this injection, the medicine is administered directly under the skin. A common example of a medicine administered via this route is insulin. Medicines are injected in the fat layer beneath the skin.
*Instillation administration – With this method, the medicine is in the form of a suspension or liquid that can be instilled in a number of ways; via the eyes, nose or ears.
*Rectal administration – Medicines administered into the body by this route are absorbed very quickly. Suppositories are available for this route of administration and are inserted high into the rectum.
*Vaginal administration – For medicines administered by this route, pessaries are formulated or creams applied using a special applicator. These are normally used to treat conditions of the vagina – for example vaginal thrush.
*Topical application administration - This is where creams, ointments and gels are applied directly to the skin. They can be used to treat skin conditions or can be used as a delivery route for an analgesic (a painkiller)
*Transdermal patch administration – The transdermal patch is a more common route of administration than a few years ago. Examples include fentanyl patches, HRT patches and nicotine patches. The drug is slowly released slowly from the patch over a set period of time and is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream