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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


PONTES-PORTELA-BESERRA, Milena et al. Drugs via enteral feeding tubes in inpatients: dispersion analysis and safe use of dispensers. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2017, vol.34, n.2, pp.257-263. ISSN 1699-5198.


This study aimed to improve knowledge about drug administration through enteral feeding tubes (EFTs) in order to minimize efficacy and safety problems.

Material and methods:

The study was performed in a public secondary care hospital with level II accreditation by the National Accreditation Organization (Organização Nacional de Acreditação ONA), in Fortaleza, Ceará, north-eastern Brazil.


One hundred and eight oral solid medications that could be administered through EFTs and were not available in liquid forms were evaluated via transformation of their solid dosage forms into liquid forms. Dispersion times and conditions were assessed to determine which medications should be crushed. We compared the use of dispensers and syringes and their connections to enteral feeding tubes and intravenous devices. Medications whose dispersion occurred within 20 minutes and could be visually perceived and whose content could be expelled without occluding the oral syringe were considered "satisfactory".


The dispersion was "satisfactory" in 82 (75.9%) of the medications; they were classified as capable of being dispersed in water in the oral syringe for further administration via EFTs without the need for crushing. Use the dispenser instead of the syringe for drug administration was safer because the dispenser apparatus did not fit into equipment for intravenous drug administration.

Keywords : Tablets; Capsules; Enteral nutrition; Drug administration routes; Patient safety.

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