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How do I prepare medications for administering via an enteral feeding tube?

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  • Article: Administration of medicines via an enteral feeding tube
  • Author: Neil Wilson is senior lecturer, adult nursing, Manchester Metropolitan University, and secretary for the National Nurses nutrition Group (NNNG); Carolyn Best is nutrition nurse specialist, Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare Trust, and communications officer for the NNNG.

This article tells you about:

  • Using the correct equipment for this procedure
  • Safe practice when giving medicines  via enteral feeding tubes
  • Giving the correct dose at the right time
  • How delivering medicines via enteral feeding tubes differs from other routes
  • How to manage tube blockages


You would be likely to reference this article if you were researching:

  • Enteral feeding
  • Drug administration
  • Nutrition
  • Nasogastric feeding
  • Patient safety 


In what situations will this article be useful to me?

  • If you are caring for patients who are being fed through enteral feeding tubes who require medication. Patients require enteral feeding for a range of conditions. For example they are used for critically ill patients, those who have had recent surgery and those with swallowing difficulties. Enteral feeding is most commonly given via a nasogastric tube or a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) feeding tube direct into the stomach.

Questions for your mentor/tutor

  • How do I prepare medications for administering via an enteral feeding tube?
  • How do you manage timing of enteral feeding and the giving of medication?

Student Nursing Times Decoder

  • Enteral feeding: Enteral feeding is the giving of a nutritionally complete feed directly into the stomach, duodenum or jejunum via a feeding tube.
  • Nasogastric tube: his is the most commonly used method of enteral feeding. The tube goes does through the nose and into the stomach. Nasogastric tubes can become displaced from position and end up in the lungs. Care  needs to be taken to ensure they are in correct place as giving a feed into the lungs is potentially fatal.
  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) feeding tube: These are used for longer-term enteral feeding. Often known as a PEG tube they are inserted directly into the stomach with an upper gastrointestingal endoscopy. They need to be monitored carefully for infection.
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