Learn how to withdraw medication from a glass ampule!
As a nurse you will encounter some medications that are supplied in a glass ampule, and you will need to know how to break open the glass ampule and withdraw the medication from it.
Also check out how to withdraw medication from a vial.
Demonstration on How to Remove Medication from an Ampule
How to Withdraw Medication from an Ampule
After confirming you have the:
- right medication
- right dose
- at the right time
- via the right route for…
- the right patient.
Gather your supplies and perform hand hygiene. You will need the following:
- A syringe to withdraw the medication with a non-filtered needle or needleless device to administer the medication.
- A filter straw or needle to help filter out any small glass pieces that may have entered the solution so you won’t inject them in the patient when you administer the medication.
- Filter straws come in various lengths (example: 4” to 1 ¾), so pick the correct size based on the size of the ampule.
- Gauze to help you break the ampule.
- Alcohol prep to help you clean the outside of the ampule before breaking it.
- Ampule of medication
- Inspect the ampule for any damage, discoloring of solution, or particles in the solution.
- Make sure the liquid in the ampule is all collected in the body of the ampule rather than the head and neck.
- To do this: lightly tap on the head of the ampule and it will drip down into the body of the ampule.
- Clean the neck of the ampule with alcohol prep and let it dry.
- Connect the syringe to the filter straw (leave it in the protective packaging until you’re ready to use it) and leave the syringe’s needle in the protective packaging until ready to use as well.
- Take the gauze and wrap it around the head and neck of the ampule.
- Sit the ampule on a flat sturdy surface and pull on the head of the ampule in a snapping motion to break off the head of the ampule at it’s neck…most ampules have a scored neck so they are easy to break off.
- NOTE: Pull the head off so the broken parts of the ampule are AWAY from your body/hand when it breaks. This will help prevent injury to yourself.
- Discard the head of the ampule into the sharps box (or however your facility requires).
- To withdraw the medication from the ampule:
- Place the ampule on a flat sturdy surface.
- Insert the filter straw into the ampule (don’t touch the edges of where the ampule is broken because it’s contaminated). Also, do NOT inject air into the ampule…this is only applicable to vials.
- Withdraw the amount of medication ordered. You will want to withdraw a little bit more than ordered because you will have to remove the extra air out of the syringe, and then you can squirt out the excess.
- Remove the filter straw from the ampule and turn the syringe upward and remove any air bubbles by flicking the syringe and using the plunger to push out the air bubbles.
- Remove and discard the filter straw and ampule in the sharps container (or as your facility requires).
- Attach the syringe’s original needle device and keep it in the protective covering until ready to use.
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