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The 7 Different Methods Of Medication Administration And When Do You Need One

Does seeking medical help scare you because of getting medication? Does the thought of getting an injection make you postpone your doctor’s appointment? If this is you, you need to worry. 

There are various ways a doctor can administer medication. This article guides on these methods while pinpointing the ideal situations to adopt each. Read on for this insight!

These methods are:

  • By Injection

Many medications are administered through needles or by injection. Special needles are also used, where an Intraosseous or IO access device aids in this.  

Drugs are administered into the bloodstream via injection through the following body parts:

  • The Muscles – Medicine is administered via large muscles like the thighs. It’s the preferred method where there’s a need for large dosage administration. 
  • The Veins – It’s given directly into a vein, often the forearm or the back of the hand. It’s an ideal method where you want to monitor dosage, which is given slowly. 
  • The Skin – The drugs are fed into the fat under the skin. 
  • The Spinal Cord– The injection is given to the area around the spine. It’s best used when there’s a need for a rapid effect on the brain or spinal cord. 

For your utmost safety, these injections should only be administered by licensed medical professionals (or under their supervision).
Medication Administration

  • Orally

Oral administration means drugs are given through the mouth. You can either swallow the medicine with the help of a liquid or administer it sublingually. The latter is where you place the medication under the tongue or between the gums and cheeks. The medicine will dissolve and absorb into the bloodstream. 

Oral medicine administration takes the form of capsules, tablets, mixtures, or liquids. In most cases, the choice lies with your preference. 

This technique is best used when there’s a need to administer medication in small dosages. It’s also ideal for children and the elderly since it’s a less-invasive technique.

  • By Instillation

Instillation is the administration of drugs through the body cavity, either the eyes, ears, or nose.  

It’s given as a liquid, gel, ointment, or mixture. The mixing of the different components allows for better application. You can either spray it or administer it drop by drop. 

This method of administration is directly applied to the infected eye, ear, or nose. It’s best to have trained personnel give the medication since there’s a need to be wary of the dosage.  

  • By Transdermal

Transdermal medicine administration is done via the skin through a patch. The patch contains active ingredients, part of the medicine, which is absorbed into the bloodstream. In most cases, you’ll find these patches with chemicals like alcohol for better absorption into the skin.

The transdermal technique is ideal when you need to release the medication slowly. Doctors will also recommend it if there’s no other alternative technique for drug administration. 

  • Vaginally

Vaginal medication administration involves the direct application of medicine through the vagina.

Vagina medication comes in a tablet, ring, solution, cream, or gel. A doctor will opt for this technique where the medical issue is only in the vagina. In other cases, the patients can prefer this method over oral medication for the same condition. 

It’s best to have a medical professional administer the medication to ensure it’s inserted properly for effectiveness. You also want to be wary of the dosage.

  • By Inhalation

As the name suggests, this technique involves inhaling through the mouth or nose.  

You’ll often take this medication via inhalers or nebulizers, spraying it into the nose or mouth.  

Doctors will give this medical option when only the lungs are affected, and there’s a need for instant relief from the signs and symptoms. It’s quite common with respiratory illnesses like asthma. As with most medications, have a medical practitioner guide you. It prevents inhalation mistakes, which can make the administration ineffective.

  • Rectally

Rectal drug administration entails the giving of medication through the rectum. The blood vessels in the rectum absorb the medicine and later into the bloodstream.  

This option is often mixed with other substances like wax for better application. Most are also made with gelatin, which dissolves into the blood vessels, thanks to the warmth in the rectum.  

The rectal technique is ideal when a patient can’t orally take the medication. It’s likely the case when the patient is preparing for surgery and shouldn’t ingest anything. Also, it aids in cases of constipation for instant relief.


From the discussion, there are several options to consider regarding drug administration. The choice often depends on your preferred technique. However, there are times when the decision is left to the doctor when there’s no other option.  

With this insight, you’re better placed to inquire about your preferred medical administration technique. Therefore, you no longer need to fear attending your doctor’s appointment.

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