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How to Use a Vial Adapter

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What Is a Vial Adapter? 

Some injectable medications are dispensed with a vial adapter, which is a device that the user attaches to the top of the medication vial so that it’s easier to transfer medication from the vial to a syringe. The guide below will show you how to use a vial adapter. 


Anatomy of a Syringe

" A syringe is displayed with the needle and cap to the upper left and the plunger the lower right. Various parts of the syringe are described with a word and have a line pointing from the word to what it describes. The parts that are labeled are the needle at the top; the cap covering the needle; the needle hub where the needle attaches to the syringe; the barrel of the syringe, where the medication would be stored; the scale, which is the collection of lines on the barrel that indicate the volume of air or liquid in the needle; the rubber stopper, which seals tight within the barrel and is used to draw air or liquid in, or push it out; the flange, which is the flat part at the bottom of the barrel that can be gripped with the first and second finger while the thumb pushes on the plunger; and finally, the plunger, which is the rod that pushes or pulls the rubber stopper within the barrel of the syringe."



How to Use a Vial Adapter 

  1. Wash your hands well with soap and water, then dry them completely. Put on gloves if necessary. 

    "Two hands wash each other in front of a faucet that is on. There are soap bubbles on the hands."
  2. Remove the plastic cap from the medication vial and use an alcohol wipe to clean the rubber stopper.

    "A left hand holds a vial of medication while a right hand rubs the stopper in the top of the vial with an alcohol wipe."
  3. Remove the back part of the vial adapter package, making sure that the adapter stays in the front part.

    " A left hand peels the back part of the vial adapter package away from the front part while a right hand holds the front part of the package."
  4. Using the front part of the package to handle the adapter, connect the adapter to the vial by pushing it down onto the top of the vial until the adapter snaps in place. 

  5. Using a syringe without a needle attached, twist the syringe onto the top of the vial adapter. 

    "A left hand holds a vial of medication with a vial adapter attached to it, supporting the vial adapter between the thumb and first two fingers. A right hand holds a syringe, supporting the barrel between the thumb and first finger, and twists the hub of the syringe onto the top of the vial adapter."
  6. Turn the vial, the adapter and the syringe upside down and draw the liquid medication back into the syringe to the prescribed amount for one injection. Untwist the syringe from the vial. 

    "A left hand holds a medication vial with an attached vial adapter and syringe upside down. A right hand pulls down on the plunger of the syringe to draw medication from the vial into the syringe."
  7. Twist a capped needle onto the syringe. Follow the injection technique described by your healthcare provider. You can also learn how to give an intramuscular injection, a subcutaneous injection or a penile injection on this website. Store the vial and attached adapter as indicated on the vial label or in the medication information supplied with it. 

    "A right hand holds a syringe without a needle attached. A left hand holds a needle with a cap on it. The base of the needle is near the hub of the syringe so that it can be twisted onto the syringe."

About Us 

Empower Pharmacy is a premier compounding pharmacy and outsourcing facility delivering innovative pharmaceutical solutions to patients and providers. We help local institutions thrive and serve patients across the country. We can ship nationwide and provide a 24-hour turnaround for our prescriptions as we are the nation’s largest compounding pharmacy with operations based in Houston, Texas. 

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