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What Is an IV Syringe?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2014
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An intravenous (IV) syringe is a device used to inject medicine into the body through the use of a needle or by attaching the IV syringe directly to an IV end cap. Unlike an oral syringe that is colored, the IV syringe is manufactured from a clear plastic so the medicine inside the syringe can be easily seen. The tip of the IV syringe is also much different than that of an oral syringe. The oral syringe has a single, cap-covered tip protruding from the end of the syringe body while the IV version contains a threaded cup that is designed to attach to an IV cup or a needle.

Typically, an IV syringe is a single-use syringe intended to be disposed after use. Occasionally, a medical facility will have multi-use metal or glass syringes available that can be sterilized and reused, with a new needle being attached to the end. This is especially true in dental offices where the syringes used to administer Novocain™ are often reused. This can be due to a preference by the dentist or as a cost-saving measure. Other reasons for using the multiple-use syringes can be the larger volume of Novocain&trade that can be held in the metal syringes as well as the greater reach and longer needle that can be used on this type of syringe, giving greater access into areas of the mouth.

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The typical IV syringe is a complete unit with a needle permanently attached, however, some designs use a removable needle. This type of IV syringe is most commonly used with a medicine, such as a flu shot, where multiple injections of the same inoculation can be purchased in a prepackaged form. The doctor or nurse need only to remove the pre-filled IV syringe from the package, attach a needle and give the patient the injection. The entire unit is then placed in a safety container made especially for disposing of used syringes and needles.

There are many reasons to use the IV syringe when administering medicine. Some of the reasons are the speedy introduction of medicine into the blood stream and the ability to bypass the ingestion system and liver. Bypassing the liver allows the medicine to retain its maximum strength of the medicine. Many drugs are very hard on the stomach and could possibly create other issues if administered orally. Without the buffering system of the liver and kidneys in place, the medicine is able to reach the brain much faster, providing nearly instant relief of pain and other symptoms.

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