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OUCH!!!! Ampule issues. Anyone else have problems?

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BJLynn specializes in DD, Geriatrics, Neuro.

I generally use gauze when opening them. I don't have to do it all that often, and when I do it is usually an emergency.

ginger58 specializes in Palliative Care, NICU/NNP.

I'm really sorry that happened to you. It sounds horrible and I'm sorry you weren't compensated for your days off. Knock on wood, but I've never been cut and didn't realize they make a device to open them. Does your hospital have a safety committee? Or a Pharmacy person that could initiate ordering the plastic gadgets? There are some vials that have a dot on the neck which has to do with what direction the ampule is opened. I remember in the 70s having a little file to make a notch in the glass neck.

Dalzac specializes in CCU,ICU,ER retired.

If you look at the top of the ampule you will find a very tiny spot that is where the amp is scored and it will break easier. I used the top of an ink pen like bic click and put it down on the top and snap. I also have scar tissue on my right hand from amp cuts.

lyallch specializes in Recovery Room (PACU), Surgical, ICU/CCU.

I cut my finger once on a heparin ampoule. Bled for a good 5 minutes.

Since then I have had another ampoule shatter completely under my thumb and fingers...was quite a shock.


My method is to open the alcohol packet, use the pad to wipe off the ampule (because I hate to waste anything), stick the top of the ampule inside the packet to break it - works really well. My battle has been to get filter needles at my work; when I started they didn't use them :eek: . They do now!

I must be a clutz because I cut myself several times trying to open these ampules. My husband used to work in food service and had to operate a slicer often.

He bought me a pair of Whizard® Protective Gear Cut-Resistant Talon® Gloves just for this application. I keep them in my bag and get them out anytime I need them.

I haven't cut myself since. They really do help and they aren't as expensive as missing work due to injury.

augigi specializes in Critical Care, Cardiothoracics, VADs.

It's a bit disgraceful when we need to provide our own workgloves to open medications...!! We must be behind the US in this, as almost all our meds are in ampoules in ICU. Some days it felt like opening and drawing up ampoules was all I did!

HappyNurse2005 specializes in LDRP.

Yeah, i thought about this thread as I opened a amp of Methergine this morning.

I didnt cut myself, though. i use the "alcohol wipe and pray" method.

Call the pharmacy or suppy department and request that they order disposable ampule breakers. They cover the ampule and shield your hand from nasty cuts. I order mine from healthcare logistics but you can find them anywhere. I hope this helps!

meownsmile specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho.

I really dont understand why, since this is part of a larger group of hospitals they cant provide them. Most likely they buy all the supplies for the hospitals in bulk so whats with not having a box sent over to your facility. The safety factor in itself after your injury would justify making them available to your facility too. Can you contact the safety coodinator for your facility and ask them? Sometimes its just about asking the right person and i know sometimes NM dont always "remember" to do those little tasks that "they" dont consider important. Make it your project, there is someone in that facility that can make it happen.

jayne109 specializes in ER/PDN.

Personal, I do not open my alcohol swap package, I just wrap it around the top of the ampule and partially over the scored part and the majority of the time there's no problem.

This is how I do it as well. I got cut on my right thumb-it was actually more like I ripped my skin off the bottom third of my thumb. I got the ampule open but in the process of this, I exerted too much force, because the little thing was hard to open, and it skated over my thumb.

Thankfully, nubain is the only thing in our drugs now that comes like this. We don't give it much. Metoprolol used to come like this but it was changed to vial.

I am sorry for your situation.


AnnieOaklyRN specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

I know this thread is old, but I just lacerated one of my fingers a couple days ago opening one of those stupid ampules, and it ended up requiring sutures. It was a big ampule, one that held 20 mL, so the glass was thicker than a smaller ampule.

I must ask the question why the heck do we still use ampules to hold medications, especially ones as large as the one i had to open.

It feels like you are purposley breaking glass in your own hand, how stupid are we for still using them...


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