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Oral Syringes to Give Medicine by Mouth

What is an oral syringe?

Oral syringes are used to give liquid medicine by mouth (orally). When someone hears the word syringe, it is common to think of a syringe that uses a needle to inject medicine into the body. However, a different type of syringe is used to give medicines by mouth. An oral syringe is a good way to measure and give liquid medicine by mouth, so that the dose is accurate.

Oral syringes vs. IV syringes

It is important that you use the correct syringe to give medicines.

  • Syringes for oral medicines are only meant to give medicine by mouth. Oral syringes are usually orange or amber in color, except when a patient needs a dose larger than 10 mL.
  • Syringes with a needle are used to inject medicines into the body. This includes into a vein by IV, into a muscle (IM injection), or under the skin (SubQ injection). Syringes for injections are usually clear in color.   

The tip of an oral syringe is different from other syringes. An oral syringe will not fit onto the end cap of an IV line. The syringe tips are made this way to help prevent medicine errors.

An oral syringe is used to give liquid medicines by mouth. Always check the medicine label and follow the instructions on how to give the medicine.

An oral syringe is used to give liquid medicines by mouth. Always check the medicine label and follow the instructions on how to give the medicine.

Safety reminders for oral syringes

For your child’s safety, it is important to know how to give each medicine the correct way. 

  • Read each medicine label carefully. Check the name of the medicine, dose of medicine, expiration date, and instructions for use. Make sure you received the medicine in the correct form, such as a liquid or tablet. 
  • Store oral syringes separately from all other syringes to avoid mistakes with your child’s medicines.
  • Throw away oral syringes after each use with chemotherapy. For all other medicines, you can wash and reuse oral syringes unless your care team tells you otherwise.
  • Some oral syringes come with the medicine in the syringe (pre-filled). Pre-filled oral syringes have a cap on the end to prevent the liquid medicine from leaking out. When you are ready to give the medicine, remove this cap and throw it away at once to prevent your child from swallowing or choking on the cap. There should never be a need to recap an oral syringe.
  • Be sure that you understand the instructions for the medicine. If you are unsure about a medicine or the supplies you are given, ask your care team before use.

Always listen carefully when your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist describes how to give a medicine. Ask questions about anything you do not understand. If you are not sure about something, ask them to repeat the instructions.

Key Points

  • Oral syringes are used to give liquid medicine by mouth (orally). 
  • Know which type of syringe you need to use. 
  • Store oral syringes separately from other syringes to prevent medication mistakes.
  • Make sure that you understand the instructions how to give each medicine. 
  • If you have questions about any of your child’s medicines, talk to your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse.
Oral Syringe is orange with an off-set tip

Oral Syringe is orange with an off-set tip

 
IV Syringe is clear with a centered tip

IV Syringe is clear with a centered tip

 


Reviewed: September 2022