How do I handle and use ampules?

Ampules are small single use vials. They are designed to be broken at the narrow point in the neck. Most have been weakened to make this easier and mark the weak point with a printed line.

Opening an ampule:

  1. To help keep the ampule and medicine as sterile as possible, use some sanitizer gel on your hands, or wash your hands thoroughly.
  2. Hold the ampule upright and tap the top to remove solution from the head space.
  3. Swab the neck of the ampule with an alcohol pad.
  4. Wrap the neck with an alcohol pad or gauze, and grasp the top with the thumb and index finger of one hand. With the other hand, grasp the bottom of the ampule.
  5. Quickly snap the ampule moving your hands away and out from you. If the ampule does not snap easily, rotate it slightly and try again. A light pressure should cleanly
    snap the ampule open, while using too much force can cause it to shatter.
  6. Inspect the opened ampule for any particles of glass that might have fallen inside.

If the glass shatters when you open your ampule, wrap all the pieces in a tissue and discard. Don’t use the medicine if your ampule shatters.

Transferring the solution from the opened ampule:

  1. Hold the ampule at about a 20-degree down angle.
  2. Insert a needle/straw into the ampule taking care not to touch the ampule neck where it is broken.
  3. Position the needle in the shoulder area of the ampule beveled edge down. This will avoid pulling glass particles into the syringe.
  4. Withdraw solution but keep needle submerged to avoid withdrawing air into the syringe.
  5. Withdraw needle from ampule and remove all air bubbles from the syringe.
  6. Transfer the solution to the final container using a filter needle or membrane filter.

Posted in: Quality & Safety