What syringe should you use to administer drugs via an enteral feeding tube? What do you think?
Any substances given through an enteral feeding tube must be via an enteral syringe or designated enteral feeding set (NPSA, 2007). The use of IV syringes to measure and administer medications through enteral feeding tubes has, in the past, led to fatalities due to the inadvertent IV administration of drugs meant for enteral feeding tubes (Hicks et al, 2008; Nevan et al, 2000). Enteral syringes are currently purple in colour and clearly labelled “for oral/enteral use” to distinguish them from IV syringes.
Three-way taps and syringe tip adaptors should not be used in enteral feeding systems because connection design safeguards can be bypassed (NPSA, 2007). All oral/enteral syringes containing oral liquid medicines must be labelled with the name and strength of the medicine, the patient’s name, and the date and time it was prepared and the person who did it, unless preparation and administration is one uninterrupted process and the unlabelled syringe does not leave the hands of the person who has prepared it. Only one unlabelled syringe should be handled at any one time (NPSA, 2007).