- Global Pharma News & Resources

The importance of oral syringes

~ A look at the easy and accurate syringe ~

 The word syringe is often associated with needles and medication that is injected into the body. For some patients, this can be the last thing they want to hear. However, oral syringes provide an easy, accurate and patient-friendly option for the administration of medicine. Here, Adrian Pittock, marketing director of healthcare consumables supplier Valley Northern, discusses the importance of oral syringes.

Oral syringes are used to easily dispense liquid medication to a range of patients. From babies and small children, to elderly patients who may need supervision or assistance, oral syringes are a reliable and convenient method of administering medication.

Measurement graduations make oral syringes more accurate than using a spoon, meaning that doses can be easily tailored to gradually increase or decrease, dependent on a patient’s individual needs and prescription.

Safety in syringes

Oral syringes ensure precise administration of medicines, enhancing patient safety. From children’s cold and flu medicines, to vital medication and nutrition for debilitating illnesses, oral syringes are used as an easy and accurate method of dispensing medication for a range of patients.

For simple administration for babies and children who refuse medication or are unable to swallow solid medications, to elderly patients in hospitals and care homes that require help from a medical nurse to administer their medication, oral syringes are widely used.

In particular, small children and babies are often prescribed liquid medication in small doses, which can be difficult to measure out using a standard 5ml medicine spoon. Besides, some children and babies may not be able to take the medicine from a spoon, which is what makes oral syringes the most accurate and convenient option for administering medications to children.

Similarly, for elderly patients who may be unwell and unable to open their mouths wide enough to swallow tablets, oral syringes make this task much easier to carry out. Furthermore, oral syringes provide another level of patient safety as they have different design requirements in order to be distinguished from similar types of syringes, such as intravenous.

Before the closure of the NHS National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) in 2012, the NPSA was responsible for identifying and reducing risks to patients in the NHS to improve their safety. The agency reported that there had been a number of incidents where oral medication had been incorrectly administered into intravenous lines.

According to a patient briefing about safer measurement and administration of oral liquid medicines, the NPSA recognised that misadministration was caused by using intravenous syringes to measure and administer oral liquid medicine. As a result, patients were at risk of potentially life-threatening consequences and in some reported instances, the outcome was fatal.

To help prevent the risk of misadministration, the NPSA recommended that “organisations only use oral and enteral syringes to measure and administer oral liquid medicines. It is also recommended that healthcare organisations should only purchase enteral feeding tubes with connector ports for enteral syringes”.

The new body responsible for improving patient safety is now NHS Improvement, which is working with the NHS to deliver improved care for patients.

Syringe design

The similarities between oral and intravenous syringes had previously made it easier for medications to be confused and wrongly administered. The recommendations made by the NPSA now means that oral syringes must be designed differently to the original requirements, to prevent the risk of misadministration. Syringes must not be compatible with intravenous devices, must be clearly labelled as ‘oral’ and must have coloured plungers or barrels for easy identification.

When selecting oral syringes, it’s important to use a reliable supplier that provides syringes that meet the design and safety guidelines as proposed by the NPSA.

The Precision range of oral syringes from Valley Northern feature coloured plungers, are labelled for ‘oral use only’, are CE marked meaning that they meet the European Medical Device Directive requirements and include measurement sizes that vary from 1ml to 10ml. Valley Northern also offers a variety of customisation options that enables customers to design oral syringes based on specific requirements, such as creating a bespoke plunger colour, specific graduations and custom logos for the healthcare service.

Customising oral syringes not only demonstrates consideration and commitment to patients and their safety but also eases the minds for both staff and patients using the syringes by reducing the risk from misadministration.

As the most accurate method of medicine administration, oral syringes increase patient safety, reducing the risks of injuries associated with misadministration and making day-to-day life easier for patients and healthcare professionals alike. More information about Valley Northern’s Precision oral syringes can be found on the website here

Editor Details

  • Company:
    • Valley Northern Limited
  • Name:
    • Valley Northern Limited
Last Updated: 03-Oct-2019