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Syringe Drivers

Syringe Drivers are small portable (usually battery operated) devices used to administer medications in palliative care. A single drug, or more often a combination of drugs, is given via a slow continuous subcutaneous infusion to help control symptoms when other routes of administration are no longer viable, feasible or preferred.

As with any intervention, or change to patient care, adequate education and support should be provided to the care recipient and their support network. They will often be required to care for someone at home who has a syringe driver.

Local reactions at the needle insertion site are not uncommon, can be uncomfortable and may result in sub-optimal symptom control. [1] These reactions can be caused by irritation from medication(s) or infection.

Caution must be taken when looking at any overseas information as other drugs, dosages and devices are used.

  1. Mitchell K, Pickard J, Herbert A, Lightfoot J, Roberts D. Incidence and causes for syringe driver site reactions in palliative care: A prospective hospice-based study. Palliat Med. 2012 Dec;26(8):979-85. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

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Last updated 21 January 2017