When we visit a doctor for any disease condition, we are prescribed few medicines which are to be taken by suitable routes like by mouth or injection etc. These routes are called as routes of medication administration.
One mostly gets few tablets to consume but at times even syrups, ointments and even injections are given. Of them some are taken through mouth (orally), some on local skin application( ointment) while few into body muscles (injections). But why do doctors need this many routes of medication administration?
This is quite interesting and is studied as part of pharmacology course in medicine.
Routes of medication administration
- Oral route
- Topical route
- Nasal route
- Parenteral route (injections)
- Vaginal route
- Anal route.
Oral route: This route of drug administration is safer and also inexpensive. It is most common route of taking drugs. This route is preferred due to advantages like
a. Ease of administration as even the patient can take medicine on his own without others help.
b. The chances of taking improper dose is absent.
c. This is non-painful route and also safest route.
d. Also dosing by this route allows no wastage of drug.
d. It is suitable for people of all ages including infants, children, adults and old age people.
But it also has few limitations like
a. It is not possible to give drugs in this route to comatose patients.
b. Not all drugs can be given by this route due to chance of degradation liver before showing its actions.
c. In case of emergency this route is not preferred as the time taken by medicament given by this route to produce effect is half and hour to one hour. That is there is no immediate response.
Ex: Tablets, syrups, capsules are given by this route.
This route is where a medicament is applied on to skin to produce its effects. This route is one of the safest route as the drug cannot product poisonous effects. In this method of administration, drug is applied on to skin or other body surfaces.
Advantages: It can show local effect. That is the drug acts only at the site of application and not on whole body like in oral route.
Ex: Powders, ointments, lotions etc.
Nasal route: Here drugs are given by nose. This is meant either for cleaning of poisons from stomach or for delivery of nutrition to the body bypassing mouth.
Parenteral route: As the name indicates, here are drugs are given in routes other that intestine. All types of injections come under this route. This route is less frequently used by doctors due to technical help required. But still this route has advantages over oral route.
Advantages of this parenteral route.
- It is suitable to give drug to coma patients.
- For quick action and achieving immediate response in the patient the medicament is given directly into blood vessels.
- Also small amount of drug is needed compared to other routes as there is no wastage of drugs by metabolism.
- Those drugs which are not absorbed by stomach or which will be digested by stomach are given by this route. Ex: Insulin in diabetic patients.
Disadvantages of this route:
1. Risky route: This route is risky as once drug is given, it cannot be retrieved back or stopped easily.
2. Pain and wounds: This route can induce pain during the injection also frequent injections can cause wound or abscesses.
3. Expensive route: One needs a syringe, cotton, sterilizing agent before administering the injection. So this adds up the cost.
4. Minimal chances of self medication. The patient cannot medicament on his own in most cases.
Vaginal route: This route is possible only in women. Also most of the times, this route is avoided. This is used for local infection in the genital parts of women.
Anal route: This route of drug administration involves, passing of medicament into anus to affect the large intestine. This is called as enema and very useful in cases like irritable bowel syndrome.