Parenteral drug administration

What Is Parenteral Drug Administration?

Parenteral drug administration is the act of administering medication and nutrients directly into a vein, muscle, or tissue, rather than through the digestive system. This method of administration is usually done through injection, either intravenously or intramuscularly. A parenteral drug delivery method bypasses the need for ingestion and absorption by the body, as well as the potential breakdown of the drug that could occur in the stomach.

Parenteral drug administration is often used for medications that are not well absorbed when taken orally, or for medications that need to be absorbed quickly for an immediate effect.

Benefits of Parenteral Drug Administration

Parenteral administration has a number of benefits over oral or topical drug delivery. These include:

  • The medicine is quickly and directly absorbed by the body, providing an immediate effect.
  • This method of delivery is ideal for drugs that are not well absorbed when taken orally.
  • The risk of drug degradation or "first-pass effect," where the drug is broken down in the stomach or liver, is minimized.
  • The drug can be delivered in a controlled and consistent amount, as it is not subject to changes in gastric emptying or to variations in absorption.
  • This method of delivery is useful for outpatient administration of drugs, for pregnant women or those sensitive to medication, or for those who are unable to take drugs orally.

Risks of Parenteral Drug Administration

There are some potential risks associated with parenteral drug administration. These include:

  • Potential for infection at the site of injection.
  • Excessive dosage due to more rapid absorption of the drug.
  • Irritation or inflammation at the injection site if the drug is not properly diluted.
  • Difficulties associated with self-administration for those who need to take medication at home.


Parenteral drug administration is a useful and effective way to quickly and directly deliver medication into the body. It is often used for drug delivery when oral administration is not an option, and for drugs that need to be rapidly and consistently absorbed. While this method of drug delivery does have some potential risks, it can be effective in providing targeted and immediate therapy for many medical conditions.