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A step by step guide to opening and drawing up medications from an ampoule.

Remember: if you have any concerns about any of the steps you can contact your healthcare team using the numbers in your carer diary.
  1. Step 1Wash your hands with soap and water and dry well.

    Washing hands
  2. Step 2Assemble the equipment in a clean container.

    Equipment assembled in a clean container
  3. Step 3Attach blunt filter drawing up needle to luer-lock syringes.

    • Take the syringe out of the packet.
    • Put the needle onto the syringe using a twisting action until secure.
    Attaching blunt filter drawing up needle
  4. Step 4Opening an ampoule

    For a plastic ampoule:

    • Simply twist the top of the ampoule until it is removed.

    For a glass ampoule:

    • Hold the ampoule upright with the pointed end at the top.
    • Check all fluid is removed from the neck of ampoule.
    • If not, gently flick the top of the ampoule until the fluid runs back into it.
    • If there is a dot on the ampoule this shows where the weak point in the neck is and where the ampoule should break. Ensure the dot is facing away from you.
    • Hold the ampoule in one hand, place the ampoule opener on to the top of the ampoule using the other hand. With your thumb, push the neck of the ampoule away from you to snap the top off. Tip the top of the ampoule out of the ampoule opener into the sharps container. If it will not come out, dispose of ampoule opener and ampoule top together.
    Opening an ampoule
  5. Step 5Drawing up medication from an ampoule

    • Hold the ampoule in your non-dominant hand upside down at a slight angle or in a position that is comfortable for you such as on a table
    • The medication should not come out of the ampoule if you tip it upside down.
    • Insert the needle into the ampoule.
    • Draw the medication into the syringe by slowly pulling back on the plunger of the syringe.
    • Once fluid is in the syringe, take the needle out of the ampoule.
    Drawing up medication
  6. Step 6Dispose of the ampoule directly into the sharps container.

    Yellow sharps container
  7. Step 7Point the needle to the ceiling, flicking the syringe with your index finger to get all air bubbles in the syringe to move to the top. Slowly push the plunger of the syringe upwards until you have the correct dose/amount as instructed by the doctor/nurse.

    Needly pointed at ceiling