Butterfly Injections

  1. Does anyone actively practice this or come across this in their ERs?

    A couple weeks ago I had a treat and release patient who didn't need a line... the doctor ordered IV toradol and I clarified the order with him. "He doesn't have a line, I can start one. Did you want it IV or IM?"
    His reply, "You can just butterfly it in or give it IM if you want."

    I was completely confused because I had never even heard of this... this isn't the nicest doc, so I just gave it IM to save myself the embarrassment. So of course I googled it. I never learned about this method of med admin in nursing school nor have I ever seen it used. I'm guessing because a good portion of our patients have lines or just get PO/IM if it's a simple treat/release kind of thing.

    Does anyone actually do this?

    The only butterflies we have are the ones with the vacutainer... do you just use this with a flush and syringe instead? Is this outdated or just a rare technique?

    Not sure if I'll ever end up using this method, but for curiosity sake. Sorry if this is a stupid question!
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Anna Flaxis
    I've only ever used butterfly needles for draws, but yes, you can inject through them as well. Kind of a hassle, though. I'd have gone IM too.
  4. by   boyfactory
    I have used a butterfly a few times with a syringe for medication administration. They are perfectly usable for short-term medication administration (less than 2 hours). IM is fine for some things, but if the med was ordered iv and you don't want to start a line, butterflies are fine. Keep in mind, some dosages are different from IV vs IM...like toradol.
  5. by   turnforthenurse
    Quote from boyfactory
    Keep in mind, some dosages are different from IV vs IM...like toradol.
    Yup. We never give 60mg IV at one time....that's the IM dose. for IV it's always 30mg.
  6. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from turnforthenurseRN
    for IV it's always 30mg.
    Some of our docs order 15mg IV, it's often as effective as 30mg. Just FYI, in case you run into that order, it's legit.
  7. by   turnforthenurse
    Quote from LunahRN
    Some of our docs order 15mg IV, it's often as effective as 30mg. Just FYI, in case you run into that order, it's legit.
    Lol yes, that's ttrue, too
  8. by   flyingchange
    I had a homecare infusion client whose RN wife wanted to give his infusions via butterfly as she was not comfortable with IV catheters. His infusions only lasted for 15-30 minutes. All the research I turned up indicate that butterfly infusions are safe for up to 2 hours - although you'd have to monitor it like a hawk and the pt would have to stay basically motionless.

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