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Oral syringes vs. IV syringes


Many times when we hear the word syringe, we think of a syringe that is used to inject medicine into the body. But, a different type of syringe is used to give medicines by mouth (oral). These syringes are a great way to measure oral liquid medicine, so each dose is accurate.

For your child’s safety, make sure you know how to give each medicine the correct way. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Always be sure you listen carefully when your doctor, nurse or pharmacist describes how to give the medicine. Do not be afraid to ask questions about anything you do not understand. If you are unsure about something, ask them to repeat the instructions a second time.
  • Read the prescription labels carefully to be sure you received the medicine in the proper form, such as a liquid or tablet.
  • Throw out oral syringes after each use with chemotherapy. For all other medicines, you can wash and reuse oral syringes unless the clinic doctor or nurse tells you otherwise.
IV syringe and oral syringe
  • Oral syringes are only meant to be used by mouth. Usually, oral syringes will be amber or orange in color, except when a patient needs a dose larger than 10mls.
  • Clear syringes usually are used to inject medicines into the body (through an IV or injected in a muscle (IM) or just under the skin (sub-Q).
  • The tip of an oral syringe is different than the tip on an IV syringe. An oral syringe will not fit onto the end cap of a patient’s IV line. The syringe tips were designed this way in hopes of preventing medicine errors.
  • Store oral syringes separately from IV syringes to avoid mistakes with your child’s medicines.
  • Pre-filled oral syringes have a cap on the end to prevent the liquid medicine from leaking out. As soon as you are ready to give the medicine, remove this cap and discard it right away to prevent your child from swallowing the cap and choking. There should never be a need to recap an oral syringe.
  • If you have questions about any of your child’s medicines, do not hesitate to call a St. Jude pharmacist, doctor, or nurse.



This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

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