Feeding Tube Education: Giving Medicine

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Medicines and Feeding Tubes

Ask your doctor or nurse where the tip of the feeding tube is in your child’s body. The tip can stay in the stomach or past the stomach. Make sure that the medicine your child is taking is going to the right place. Each time you get medicines filled from the pharmacist, check with the pharmacist that the medicine ordered should be going where the tip of your child’s feeding tube ends.

There are some medicines you cannot mix with each other or feedings unless the doctor or pharmacist says it is okay. If you are giving several medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can give them in the feeding tube together or if you should flush with water after each medicine.  

Preparing Liquid Medicines

Mix the medicine with tap water. Check with your doctor about how much water to use.  

Preparing Pills or Tablets

Check with your doctor or pharmacist before crushing the pills or tablets.  There are some medicines you should not crush. Crush the medicine into a powder and mix it with tap water. Ask your doctor how much water to use.

Preparing Capsules

Check with your doctor or pharmacist before dissolving capsules.  There are some medicines you should not dissolve. Open the capsule and dissolve powder in tap water. Ask your doctor how much water to use.

Giving the Medicine

  1. Prepare
    1. Wash your hands well.  Use soap and water or an alcohol hand cleaner.
    2. Gather all of your supplies:
  2. Flush before giving the medicine
    1. Pull up the water into the syringe to flush the feeding tube. (If you don’t know how much water to use, ask the doctor who handles problems with your child’s feeding.)
    2. If the feeding tube does not have a clamp, pinch the tube, open the plug and insert the end of the syringe into the feeding tube (see Picture 1).  If it has a clamp, open it after you insert the syringe (see Picture 2).

      flush before giving the medicine

    3. Slowly push the plunger of the syringe. Flush the water through the feeding tube (see Picture 3 or 4 below).

      Slowly push the plunger of the syringe

    4. Pinch or clamp the G-tube before removing the syringe from the feeding tube. Close the feeding tube plug.
  3. Give the medicine
    1. Draw up the first medicine into the syringe.
    2. If the feeding tube does not have a clamp, pinch the tube, open the plug and insert the end of the syringe into the feeding tube (see Picture 5).  If it has a clamp, open it after you insert the syringe (see Picture 6).

      Push the medicine of the feeding tube

    3. lowly push the plunger of the syringe and push the medicine through the feeding tube (see Picture 7 or 8).

       

      Push the medicine through the feeding tube

    4. Pinch or clamp the feeding tube before removing the syringe from the feeding tube. Close the feeding tube plug. 
  4. Flush after giving the medicine
    1. Pull up the water into the syringe to flush the feeding tube. (If you don’t know how much water to use, ask the doctor who handles problems with your child’s feeding.)
    2. If the feeding tube does not have a clamp, pinch the tube, open the plug and insert the end of the syringe into the feeding tube (see Picture 9).  If it has a clamp, open it after you insert the syringe(see Picture 10).

       Flush after giving the medicine

    3. Slowly push the plunger of the syringe and flush the water through the feeding tube. This makes sure that all the medicine is out of the tube (see Picture 11 or 12 below).

       

      Slowly push the plunger of the syringe and flush the water through the feeding tube

    4. Pinch or clamp the feeding tube before removing the syringe from the feeding tube.
    5. Close the plug or reattach the cap at the end of the feeding tube.
    6. After giving the medicine(s), take the syringe apart. Wash all equipment with warm, soapy water. Rinse all equipment well.

View and Print the Feeding Tube Workbook (PDF)