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Administering Medications Via Feeding Tube | Shield HealthCare Enteral Nutrition Support Program

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
12/05/12  11:31 PM PST

Administering medications via feeding tube can be challenging. Medications are common culprits of clogged feeding tubes. Use these tips to help keep your tube open and functioning:

1. Stop the feeding. Medications and formula generally don’t mixwell.

2. Flush tube with at least 15 mL water, using a 30-60mL oral syringe. Use less or more water depending on your hydration needs (check with your doctor).

3. Dilute the medication with enough water to dissolve it. Even liquid forms should be diluted.

4. Flush the tube with at least 15 mL of water before restarting the feeding.

5. Administer medications separately from each other.

6. Use medication forms that reduce clogging:

a. Liquid when available

b. Immediate-release forms (sustained release and enteric-coated forms don’t crush well and may not absorb properly when crushed)

7. If you’re not sure if your medication forms are ideal for the feeding tube, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Got questions about tube feeding nutrition? Ask the Dietitian!  rd@shieldhealthcare.com

Reference: American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition: Enteral Nutrition Practice Recommendations

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