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TOPICAL MEDICATION

LEARNING OUTCOMES
THE STUDENT WILL BE ABLE TO:
UNDERSTAND INDICATIONS, AND
PREPARATIONS USED, FOR THE
TOPICAL ROUTE
SHOW AN AWARENESS OF HOW
TOPICAL MEDICATION IS
ADMINISTERED AND THE PARTICULAR
PRECAUTIONS THAT ARE NECESSARY

WHAT IS THE TOPICAL ROUTE


OF ADMINISTRATION
it is the administration of drugs via the epidermis
(outer layer of the skin) and external mucous
membranes to achieve local or systemic effects.

WHY USE THE TOPICAL ROUTE


FOR ADMINISTERING CERTAIN
DRUGS?
permits local rather than systemic absorption of
the drug
reduces side effects
some drugs are slow release over 24 hours
therefore continuous action

WHAT ROUTES CAN BE USED


FOR ADMINISTERING TOPICAL
MEDICATION
eye
ear
nose
transdermal
rectal
vaginal

WHAT PREPARATIONS DO TOPICAL


MEDICATION COME IN?
pastes
creams
ointments
patches
drops
sprays

GUIDELINES FOR THE TOPICAL


ADMINISTRATION OF DRUGS
wash hands
explain the procedure to the patient
prepare the equipment
apply the medication to the site
complete documentation

EYE MEDICATION
Available in two forms:
ointments and drops
Important to treat eye
If both eyes affected :
treat least affected eye first
Use aseptic technique
Should be done with the
patient lying flat

EYE MEDICATION (CONTINUED)


the lower lid should be pull down to form a
pouch, then ointment or drops can be
administered
eye medication is usually absorbed into the
cornea, however it is possible for eye drops to
be absorbed into the conjunctival vessels and
into general circulation.
the excess can drain through the tear ducts into
the nasal mucosa

EAR MEDICATION
ear medication should be
at room temperature
the patient should lie on
their side if possible
in adults and children over
3 years :

gently pull the pinna


upwards and backwards
and instill the medication

EAR MEDICATIONS (CONT)


in children below 3
the pinna should be
pulled downwards
and backwards to
instill medication
the patient should
stay in that position
for 5 minutes

NASAL MEDICATION
nasal medications may
flood the sinuses and
dribble down the throat
and be ingested therefore
the patient should
expectorate any drug that
they feel going down their
throat rather than swallow

NASAL MEDICATION (CONT)


the nasal passages should be cleared
prior to administration of medication
for nasal spray the patient should be
sitting upright
for nasal drops the patient should be lying
down

TRANSDERMAL MEDICATIONS
following application of
the drug, it is absorbed
through the hair follicles
and sweat glands,
entering the blood
stream
the patch should be
applied to a non hairy
skin surface
the sites of
administration should be
rotated to prevent
irritation

RECTAL MEDICATION
the action of the drug may
be local or systemic
the patient should lie on
their left side
for systemic action rectal
drugs the suppository
should be inserted blunt
end first
for local action rectal drugs
the suppository should be
inserted pointed end first

the suppository should


always be lubricated with a
water soluble lubricant

VAGINAL MEDICATION
the patient should be
encouraged to empty
her bladder as she has
to lie down for 20
minutes
the patient can either lie
supine with knees up or
lateral with knees up
always lubricate the
pessary or applicator
before inserting

SUMMARY
topical drugs are prepared in many different
formats, and have a number of advantages,
such as direct action on the affected area and
slow absorption through the skin

specific instructions should be followed carefully


measures to prevent cross infection when
administering topical medication are particularly
important