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Administration, Topical: The application of drug preparations to the surfaces of the body, especially the skin (Administration, Cutaneous) or mucous membranes. This method of treatment is used to avoid systemic side effects when high doses are required at a localized area or as an alternative systemic administration route, to avoid hepatic processing for example.

Preparing and Administering Topical Medications

JoVE 10259

Source: Madeline Lassche, MSNEd, RN and Katie Baraki, MSN, RN, College of Nursing, University of Utah, UT

Topical medications are applied directly to the body surfaces, including the skin and mucous membranes of the eyes, ears, nose, vagina, and rectum. There are many classes of topical medications, such as creams, ointments, lotions, patches, and aerosol sprays. Medications that are applied to the skin to produce slow, controlled, systemic effect are also referred to as transdermal. Transdermal absorption can be altered if lesions, burns, or breakdowns are present at the application site. Many transdermal medications are delivered via adhesive patch to achieve the slow, controlled, systemic effect. The patch should be applied to clean and hairless skin areas that do not undergo excessive movement, such as the back of the shoulder or thigh. Other topical creams or eye ointments should be applied according to the packaging and manufacturer instructions using an application device. When instilling eardrop medications, never occlude the ear canal, as this may increase pressure and rupture the ear drum. Medications that can be administered via a topical route include antibiotics, narcotics, hormones, and even chemotherapeutics. This requires adherence to the five "rights" of medicati


 Nursing Skills

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