Enteric Coating (EC) is a way of treating some pharmaceuticals so that the active ingredient passes to a more receptive part of the gut before being absorbed into the bloodstream. Examples of EC drugs include those that may be partially destroyed by the strong acid environment of the stomach, but yet are stable, potent and readily absorbed in the alkaline duodenum and upper small intestine. Drugs with Enteric Coating will inevitably slow the release of the drug in question and are best avoided. Some anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) drugs come in EC forms.
Alternative Routes of Administration of Drugs Stomach PEGs & Nasogastric (NG) Tubes
People who have difficulty swallowing sometimes have a surgical procedure that allows for the introduction of liquid food directly into the stomach. This feeding tube is inserted through the wall of the abdomen and is called a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG tube) or ‘stomach peg’.
The administration of drugs is often easier for a person who has a peg. There are no concerns with a drug’s bitter taste, vomiting, or the person’s ability to swallow the required lethal quantity of the drug. For a person with a PEG, a drug can be injected directly into the stomach.
Nasogastric tubes are used to provide fluids to a person who is having difficulty swallowing. This temporary procedure sees a small diameter tube positioned through the nose and down the throat into the stomach. It is possible to deliver fluids directly into the stomach through such a tube. Lethal drugs given in this way need to be in liquid form.