Medication is given to a patient using one of several routes depending on the nature of the medication and the patient's condition. The prescriber selects the route, which is written in the medication order.

The oral route is used for tablets, capsules, liquids, suspensions, and elixirs. Don't use this route if the patient cannot swallow or is not conscious or alert.

The sublingual and buccal routes are used for rapid absorption of medication because blood vessels are close to the surface of the tongue and gums. The trans-

dermal route is used for medication that can be absorbed through the skin by the use of a patch. The topical route is used to apply medication locally. The instillation route is used to administer medication through drops and sprays. Medication is directed to the lungs by using the inhalation route where the patient uses an inhaler.

If the patient has disruption of the upper GI tract, then the prescriber will order a nasogastric or gastrostomy tube. The nasogastric tube is inserted through the nose and into the stomach. The gastrostomy tube is inserted through the skin and directly into the stomach. Both of these tubes can be used to deliver medication to the patient.

The suppository route is used to absorb medication directly into the rectum or vagina. The parenteral route is used to inject medication directly into the dermal or subcutaneous tissue, muscle, or into the veins.

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