Practices Involved in the Enteral Delivery of Drugs

  • Kathryn S. BandyEmail author
  • Stephanie Albrecht
  • Bhavyata Parag
  • Stephen A. McClave
Gastroenterology, Critical Care, and Lifestyle Medicine (SA McClave, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Gastroenterology, Critical Care, and Lifestyle Medicine


Purpose of Review

While the delivery of medications through enteral tubes is common in critically ill patients, there are complications and a lack of unified practices between institutions. The purpose of this review is to evaluate current practices and literature evidence regarding this administration route. The effect of this administration on the medication’s efficacy, safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics was examined, as well as other considerations to ensure that this route of delivery is both safe and effective for patients.

Recent Findings

Studies have found crushed oral tablets are the most frequent cause of obstructed feeding tubes. Complications such as this are primarily due to inadequate personnel training and failure to properly access medications before enteral administration.


There are many factors that should be considered in order to effectively administer drugs via enteral tubes. Formal training and use of a multi-disciplinary approach that includes pharmacists and dieticians has been shown to reduce tube obstructions and administration errors.


Enteral nutrition Critical care Drug administration Adverse effects 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Kathryn S. Bandy, Stephanie Albrecht, Bhavyata Parag, and Stephen A. McClave declare they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn S. Bandy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephanie Albrecht
    • 1
  • Bhavyata Parag
    • 2
  • Stephen A. McClave
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PharmacyUniversity of Louisville HospitalLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PharmacyHouston Methodist Clear Lake HospitalHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and NutritionUniversity of Louisville HospitalLouisvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Digestive and Liver HealthUniversity of Louisville Physicians Outpatient CenterLouisvilleUSA

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