Administering Medication

When administering medications via enteral route consult with the pharmacist, physician, or nurse to ensure safe and effective use of medications. If a child is safe to take medications by mouth, this is the preferred route. However, therapists focusing on feeding should consider if medications have an unpleasant taste. This may cause distress or aversion and potentially limit progress with oral feeding. Not all medications may be given via enteral feeding tube, and absorption may be altered depending on the location of the tube. (Boullata, et al., 2017). See Table 15.

Table 15:  Enteral Tube Medication Administration: Best Practices

  • flush tubing before and after medications administration
  • administer medications separately
  • do not mix medication with enteral feed
  • use liquid medications or finely crushed immediate release medications that are appropriately diluted
  • do not crush and administer delayed release medications
  • consider drug-nutrient interactions
  • consider tube delivery site and known site of absorption of the medication
  • monitor medications that may have unreliable absorption, e.g. phenytoin
  • consider osmolality of liquid medications in children with feeding intolerance such as retching and diarrhea
  • consult pharmacist (Alberta Referral Directory) for all critically important medications given by enteral nutrition route