Medications can be safely administered by enteral feeding tube if done properly. If done improperly many problems can arise.

Drugs that can be administered via an enteral feeding tube:

(1) liquid formulation

(2) tablet that is crushed into a fine powder and mixed with liquid

(3) capsule that is opened and its contents mixed with liquid


Problems associated with administering drugs via an enteral feeding tube:

(1) clogging of the tube

(2) incompatibilities between drugs administered at the same time

(3) incompatibilities between a drug and the enteral feeding mixture

(4) reaction of the drug with the plastic of the enteral feeding tube

(5) incomplete drug absorption caused by where the tube tip is placed

(6) dose dumping if an extended release tablets is crushed and administered



(1) Try to select a liquid dosage formulation of a drug if it is available.

(2) Avoid or limit liquid dosage formulations that cause diarrhea.

(3) Do not use specialized tablets or capsules (extended release, time release, etc.)

(4) Administer one drug at a time and flush the feeding tube after each dose.

(5) Do not administer a drug at the same time as an enteral feeding unless it is be compatible.

(6) Be prepared to unclog the tube immediately if clogging occurs.

(7) Monitor the patient for therapy effect. Consider measuring serum levels of certain drugs.

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