Skip links and keyboard navigation

Syringe Driver Online Learning Package



Following completion of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe  the most commonly used drugs in subcutaneous syringes, and their indications for use;
  • Explain  which drugs are contraindicated in subcutaneous infusions;
  • State  the most commonly used diluent in subcutaneous infusions. 

Drug administration via a syringe driver:

Subcutaneous infusion of drugs is a commonly used method for delivering a wide range of medication, particularly when other drug routes are no longer available, or are unacceptable to the patient.  

The primary symptom for which control is sought is pain, but the use of syringe driver devices is not limited to pain control administration. 

Drugs to control other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting,  dyspnoea, agitation, delirium and terminal phase “noisy breathing” can also be mixed in the syringe and administered simultaneously.

Commonly, 2–3 drugs and occasionally up to four drugs may be mixed in a syringe for a subcutaneous infusion.  The maximum number of drugs that most clinicians are prepared to mix in a single syringe is four.  The more drugs that are mixed together, the greater the risk of precipitation and reduced efficacy.  It has been reported that a wide variety of drugs can be used in different combinations with no clinical evidence of loss of efficacy.  If compatibility is an issue, the use of two syringe driver devices may be considered.


ACTIVITY: SECTION 4: Drugs and Diluents (part 1)

ACTIVITY: SECTION 4: Drugs and Diluents (part 2)


Last updated: 25 September 2013