Search databaseBooksAll DatabasesAssemblyBiocollectionsBioProjectBioSampleBioSystemsBooksClinVarConoffered DomainsdbGaPdbVarGeneGenomeGEO DataSetsGEO ProfilesGTRHomoloGeneIdentical Protein Web CatalogNucleotideOMIMPMCPopSetProteinProtein ClustersProtein Family ModelsPubChem BioAssayPubChem CompoundPubChem SubstancePubMedSNPSRAStructureTaxonomyToolKitToolKitAllToolKitBookgh Bookshelf. A organization of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

You are watching: With which route of drug administration are there no barriers

StatPearls . Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-.


Continuing Education Activity

A medication administration path is regularly classified by the place at which the drug is applied, such as oral or intravenous. The option of courses in which the drugs are applied depends not just on the convenience yet also on the drug’s properties and also pharmacokinetics. This activity explains medication administration paths and defines the interprofessional team"s function in enhancing care for patients who undergo medication administration.

Recheck out how interexpert techniques between healthtreatment team members deserve to boost determinants related to medication course selection to improve pharmaceutical outcomes in patients.


A medication administration route is often classified by the area at which the drug is administered, such as oral or intravenous. The alternative of routes in which the medication is provided relies not only on the convenience and compliance but also on the drug’s pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic profile. Thus it is important to understand the attributes of the various paths and also techniques connected via them. Many type of interskilled healthcare team members are involved in the administration of drugs to patients.

Anatomy and also Physiology

Enteral Route of Medication

Oral administration of medication is a convenient, cost-reliable, and also most typically provided medication management course. The main website of drug absorption is commonly the small intestine, and also the bioavailcapability of the medication is affected by the amount of drug took in throughout the intestinal epithelium. The first-pass impact is an essential consideration for orally administered medications. It refers to the drug metabolism whereby the drug concentration is substantially diminimelted before it reaches the systemic circulation, often as a result of the metabolism at the liver.   

Parenteral Route of Medication 

Intravenous injection is the most widespread parental path of medication administration and also has actually the benefit of bypassing the first-pass metabolism by the liver. Given their superficial location on the skin, peripheral veins provide basic access to the circulatory system and also are often used in the parenteral administration of drugs. The top extremity is generally the preferred website for intravenous medication as it has actually a reduced incidence of thrombophlebitis and also thrombosis than the lower limbs. The median basilic or cephalic veins of the arm or the metacarpal veins on the hand"s doramount are generally offered. In the lower extremity, the dorsal venous plexus of the foot deserve to be offered.
Subcutaneous injections are another create of the parental route of medication and also are administered to the layer of skin referred to as cutis, simply below the dermis and epidermis layers. Subcutaneous tissue has actually few blood vessels; therefore, the medicines injected undergo absorption at a sluggish, sustained rate. Subcutaneous medication can be administered to various sites, consisting of the top arm"s external area, abdomen preventing a 2-inch circle approximately the navel, the front of the thigh, upper earlier, or the top location of the buttock behind the hip bone.  

Other Routes of Medication 

An intranasal drug path facilitates drug absorption by passive diffusion throughout the single-layered, well-vascularized respiratory epithelium directly into the systemic circulation.
A vaginal course is an underexplored drug delivery course that is not typically provided yet has actually the advantages of bypassing the first-pass impact and also have the right to serve as an efficient strategy for regional and also systemic therapy. The venous plexoffers from the vagina communicate with the vesical, uterine, and rectal venous plexoffers and also drain into the inner iliac veins. The veins from the middle and also top vagina drainpipe directly into the inferior vena cava and bypass the hepatoportal mechanism.


Enteral Route of Medication

Oral drugs are convenient and also are shown for patients that deserve to ingest and toleprice an dental develop of medications. Some medicines with brief half-lives are administered orally as timed-release or sustained-release creates that get soaked up over several hrs.
Sublingual and also buccal courses are indicated for medications via high first-pass metabolism that need to stop clearance by the liver. For circumstances, nitroglycerin is cleared more than 90% throughout a single pass via the liver; therefore, it is given as a sublingual develop. The sublingual and buccal courses additionally have actually benefits of rapid absorption, convenience, and low infection incidence.

Parenteral Route of Medication

An intravenous route straight administers the medicines to the systemic circulation. It is shown as soon as a quick drug result is desired, an accurate serum drug level is essential, or once drugs are unsecure or poorly soaked up in the gastrointestinal tract. It is additionally the route used in patients through altered psychological standing or serious nausea or vomiting, unable to tolerate dental medications.  
A subcutaneous path is used once the drug"s molecular dimension is too large to be successfully took in in the intestinal tract or when better bioavailability or a faster absorption price is essential than the dental route. It is easy to carry out and calls for minimal skills, so patients can often self-administer the medication themselves. Common medications administered subcutaneously encompass insulin, heparin, and monoclonal antibodies. 

Other Routes of Medication

An intranasal course of medication can be utilized in administering nasal decongestants for cold or allergy treatment. Other provides include desmopressin for the treatment of diabetes insipidus or intranasal calcitonin for the treatment of osteoporosis. An inhaled medication path deserve to be used to carry out albuterol or corticosteroids such as fluticasone and to deliver inhaled anesthetics to patients.


Each medication administration route has distinct contraindications, and also the healthtreatment team members must acknowledge them. An dental medication course is contrashown for patients who cannot toleprice dental drugs, such as those that have transformed mental condition or have actually nausea or vomiting that hinder them from safely ingesting the drug orally. A rectal route is contraindicated in patients via energetic rectal bleeding or diarrhea or after a current rectal or bowel surgical procedure. An intramuscular path is contrashown in an energetic infection or inflammation at the website of drug administration, myopathies, muscular atrophy, thrombocytopenia, or coagulopathy.

A subcutaneous path of medication is contrashown in an actively contagious or inflamed site. Doses that call for to be injected more than 1.5 mL at once should be avoided. Subcutaneous injection volumes bigger than 2 mL are linked through adverse results, including pain and also leakage at the injection website.<8> An intranasal medication is contrasuggested in patients via nasal trauma, anatomic obstruction, presence of a foreign body, or copious mucous or bleeding. Similarly, an inhaled medication is contrashown in patients with airflow obstruction.


The devices required relies on the route favored for medication administration. In basic, equipment necessary for the parenteral route might encompass gauze, dry cotton swab, nitrile gloves, chlorhexidine or alcohol-based antiseptic agent, tourniquet, as necessary gauged intravenous catheter, syringe, normal saline flush, and a bandage. A neighborhood anesthetic agent may be used for larger cannulas or to minimize discomfort in some patients, such as pediatric patients. A lubricant can be made use of in rectal or vaginal management of medication to minimize friction and discomfort.


One personnel is typically sufficient for all routes of medication administration. Still, additional assistance may be useful if the patient is unable to stay in an optimal place or as soon as administering to kids.


The “5 rights” are emphasized for the preparation of medication administration: best patient, ideal drug, right dose, appropriate website, and also right timing.<9> It is necessary to describe to patients how the medication will be administered, obtain consent for actions once shown (e.g., main venous catheter), and also aid prepare patients before they get their medication. The website of application of the medication need to be liked based on its adequacy and indications. The label on the medication have to be checked for its name, dose, and also apshowed usage route.


Techniques associated in each path of medication management are various, and some of the necessary points are summarized as follows:

Intravenous Route

A tourniquet may be provided over the site intended for the intravenous medication to make the vein even more visible and also easier to access. However before, once provided, the tourniquet need to be rerelocated before injecting the medication to prevent extravasation. In central lines or peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines for the medication management, ultrasound guidance is often offered.<10>  

Intramuscular Route

Intramuscular injection have to be done at a perpendicular angle as it has actually been presented to be the a lot of effective approach for patient comfort, safety, and medication efficacy.<11> Skin traction and deep press to the muscle have the right to help decrease patients" pain and discomfort.<12> When injecting to the dorsogluteal website, aspirating for a few seconds is recommfinished, provided its proximity to the gluteal artery.<13>

Subcutaneous Route

A subcutaneous course requires minimal skills and training, and patients have the right to regularly conveniently learn to inject medicines to themselves. It is recommended that instead of utilizing the very same website, patients revolve the sites of injection to protect against complications such as lipohypertrophy that can cause infinish medication absorption.<14> The injection is normally at an angle if using a needle/syringe or at a perpendicular angle if making use of an injector pen.

Rectal Route

It is recommfinished to have the patient lie onto the left side through the right knee bent in the direction of the chest as this place allows the medication to circulation into the rectum and consequently to the sigmoid colon by gravity. Sepaprice the buttocks through the non-dominant gloved hand also and gently insert the medicine 2 to 4 cm into the rectum utilizing a dominant hand"s gloved index finger. A lubricant may be used for the patient’s comfort. If administering a laxative suppository, the patient will certainly need a bedpan or commode or be placed close to the toilet. It is recommended that the patient remains on the side for 5 to 10 minutes unmuch less otherwise mentioned by the medication’s directions.<15>    

Vaginal Route

Position the patient onto their earlier via legs bent and feet relaxing level on the bed. A lubricant have the right to be offered to mitigate friction against the vaginal mucosa as the medication is administered. Gently separate labial folds via the non-dominant gloved hand also while with the dominant gloved index finger, insert the lubricated suppository to around 8-10 cm along the posterior vaginal wall.

Inhaled Route

Each inhaler has actually its instructions from the manufacturer. For metered-dose inhalers, some of the necessary approaches include: shake the inhaler vigorously for a few secs prior to each puff; inhale via the mouth, not the nose once breathing in the medication; store the tongue under the mouthitem to avoid blocking the mouthpiece; take a sluggish deep breath as the medication canister is pressed and also organize the breath for 5 to 10 secs and then exhale. Cleaning the inhaler regularly is recommfinished to prevent a buildup of drugs. Spacers or chambers can assist patients inhale the aerosol and also help decrease the deplace of the medication in the mouth or throat.


The clinical personnel must recognize the potential complications of each path of medication administration. The parenteral course deserve to reason pain or discomfort in the area of application, bleeding, bruising, infection, or inflammation. Infiltration is a prevalent complication of the intravenous path whereby the intravenous liquid or medication enters the surrounding tissue and not the vein. It is not deemed severe unless the infiltrated medication is a compound that may damage the neighboring tissue, such as a chemotherapeutic agent or a vesicant, in which case the complication is termed extravasation, and also this might bring about tissue necrosis. Although the intravenous route has actually the benefit of rapidly moving drugs to patients, this may cause nonparticular significant cardiopulmonary effects, and also the healthcare personnel should very closely monitor the patients.

For intramuscular injections, tbelow are site-certain complications to be conscious of. In deltoid muscle injection, an unintentional injury to radial and also axillary nerves via resultant paralysis or neuropathy may not always solve.<16> As debated formerly, the dorsogluteal website injection carries an enhanced hazard of sciatic nerve injury, and also therefore the ventrogluteal website is even more recommended.<3> Complications associated with the subcutaneous course are more medication-particular. For circumstances, in subcutaneous insulin, lipohypertrophy or lipoatrophy can build, leading to sreduced or infinish insulin absorption at the injection website.<17> Thus, making use of different injection sites is recommfinished to patients.

In the intranasal course, interseptal nasal perforation had actually been reported in some patients, particularly those utilizing intranasal steroids for a lengthy period.<18> Rebound congestion in patients on chronic nasal decongestants is viewed as the sinusoid vasculatures execute not respond also to the adrenergic drug with expanded usage and lead to a hyperemic, congested mucosa. Complications connected with inhaled medicines are also often medication-certain. For circumstances, inhaled corticosteroids can cause neighborhood deplace that leads to thrush or dysphonia, and also periodically cough, throat irritation, and also call hypersensitivity likewise have actually been reported.<19>

Clinical Significance

Administering medication is the hallmark of treating patients in various healthcare settings. The interexpert healthtreatment team members should understand the distinct properties of each route of medication management. Knowing contraindications and also potential complications deserve to aid stop unvital threats in patients, while expertise indications deserve to help choose the best medication delivery route.

Enhancing Healthtreatment Team Outcomes

Each route of medication management has its unique attributes that need to be considered by the healthtreatment team once caring for patients. Specific techniques, such as main venous catheter placement and PICC lines, need more progressed abilities and also training, and it is essential to communicate and setup on how the process will certainly continue. The healthcare members affiliated in patient treatment need to also be conscious of and proactively monitor for potential instant and also delayed medication administration complications. Indeveloping patients well around the process and also entailing them in the decision-making process whenever proper deserve to enhance the overall healthcare outcome. For circumstances, in the rectal or vaginal course, patients may prefer to self-administer the drugs. Healthcare personnel need to be aware of potential individual or cultural barriers to these medication courses.<7>

Nursing, Allied Health, and also Interprofessional Team Interventions

Minimizing pain or discomfort linked with medication management deserve to assist enhance patient suffer and also wellness outcomes. Utilizing regional anesthetics once proper for the parenteral path or making use of lubricants in the rectovaginal medication path can be advantageous.

Nursing, Allied Health, and also Interexpert Team Monitoring

Being conscious of and also monitoring for potential instant and also delayed complications upon medication management is vital. For example, in the central venous catheter, adverse results such as bleeding, hematoma, thrombosis, or infection need to be monitored closely.

See more: Blazing Saddles Episode 79: Now Go Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well !

<20> Also, nursing staff must help preserve the area of the venous catheter sterile, inspect for its functionality on a regular basis, and also communicate with other healthcare team members once tbelow are worries.

Mathias NR, Hussain MA. Non-invasive systemic drug delivery: developcapability considerations for different routes of administration. J Pinjury Sci. 2010 Jan;99(1):1-20.
van Hoogdalem E, de Boer AG, Breimer DD. Pharmacokinetics of rectal drug administration, Part I. General considerations and clinical applications of centrally acting drugs. Clin Pharmacokinet. 1991 Jul;21(1):11-26.
Park CW, Cho WC, Son BC. Iatrogenic Injury to the Sciatic Nerve due to Intramuscular Injection: A Case Report. Korean J Neurotrauma. 2019 Apr;15(1):61-66.
Gonda I. Systemic shipment of drugs to people through inhalation. J Aerosol Med. 2006 Spring;19(1):47-53.
Levy M, Duffy CM, Pollock P, Budd E, Caularea L, Koren G. Home-based palliative treatment for children--Part 1: The institution of a program. J Palliat Care. 1990 Spring;6(1):11-5.
Nicoll LH, Hesby A. Intramuscular injection: an integrative research evaluation and pointer for evidence-based exercise. Appl Nurs Res. 2002 Aug;15(3):149-62.
Srikrishna S, Cardozo L. The vagina as a course for drug delivery: a review. Int Urogynecol J. 2013 Apr;24(4):537-43.
Mathaes R, Koulov A, Joerg S, Mahler HC. Subcutaneous Injection Volume of Biopharmaceuticals-Pushing the Boundaries. J Pharm Sci. 2016 Aug;105(8):2255-9.
Martyn JA, Paliadelis P, Perry C. The safe management of medication: Nursing behaviours past the five-civil liberties. Nurse Educ Pract. 2019 May;37:109-114.
Kolikof J, Peterboy K, Baker AM. StatPearls . StatPearls Publishing; Treacertain Island (FL): May 23, 2021. Central Venous Catheter.
Warren BL. Intramuscular injection angle: proof for practice? Nurs Prax N Z. 2002 Jul;18(2):42-51.
Salari M, Estaji Z, Akrami R, Rad M. Comparison of skin tractivity, push, and rapid muscle release via typical method on intramuscular injection pain: A randomized clinical trial. J Educ Health Promot. 2018;7:172.
Sisboy H. Aspirating during the intramuscular injection procedure: a systematic literature evaluation. J Clin Nurs. 2015 Sep;24(17-18):2368-75.
Frid AH, Kreugel G, Grassi G, Halimi S, Hicks D, Hirsch LJ, Smith MJ, Wellhoener R, Bode BW, Hirsch IB, Kalra S, Ji L, Strauss KW. New Insulin Deliexceptionally Recommendations. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016 Sep;91(9):1231-55.
Lowry M. Rectal drug administration in adults: just how, when, why. 2016 Feb 24-Mar 1Nurs Times. 112(8):12-4.
Bancsi A, Houle SKD, Grindrod KA. Shoulder injury regarded vaccine management and other injection website occasions. Can Fam Physician. 2019 Jan;65(1):40-42.
Guarneri AM, Hoffmale RP. Nonglycemic Adverse Effects of Insulin. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2021 Jan 28;
Jang TY, Kim YH. Recent Updates on the Systemic and Local Safety of Intranasal Steroids. Curr Drug Metab. 2016;17(10):992-996.
Gani F, Caminati M, Bellavia F, Baroso A, Faccioni P, Pancera P, Batani V, Senna G. Oral health and wellness in asthmatic patients: a testimonial : Asthma and its therapy may affect on dental health. Clin Mol Allergy. 2020 Nov 07;18(1):22.
Perin DC, Erdmann AL, Higashi GD, Sasso GT. Evidence-based measures to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections: a organized evaluation. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem. 2016 Sep 01;24:e2787.