ER doctors can pick your nose

Medicating patients through the nose is becoming much more popular in emergency rooms and outside of the hospital, according to a new study published March 30 in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.

“Administering intranasal medications in the prehospital or emergency setting can be easy, fast and noninvasive,” said lead study author Megan Rech.

paramedic administering intranasal medicine to a "dummy"Researchers examined various studies in which certain drugs were administered intranasally. These drugs included midazolam, used to treat seizures or sedate children for emergency procedures, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used for pain relief, naloxone, used for therapy in opioid overdoses, ketamine, typically given to adults and children with skeletal injuries and dexmedetomidine, used for sedation and pain relief in surgeries and dental procedures for children.

Through the examination of these studies, researchers found that the use of medicating through the nose was increasing in popularity due to the ease and noninvasive nature of this type of administration.

“These formulations can be especially useful for children, as they are not as painful and frightening as using intravenous or intramuscular routes,” said Dr. Rech. “This route can also be an effective option for treating opioid overdoses.”

The study did note some disadvantages to medicating through the nose, including that it is generally more expensive, limits the dosage and may cause irritation or trauma to the nasal area.

Funding was provided by independent medical education grants.
Written by: Ms. Katherine Heighway | Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Carlson, M.D.