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What Are the Medical Advantages of an IV Push?

An IV push delivers medication directly into the bloodstream, ensuring rapid onset of effects and precise dosing. This method bypasses digestive metabolism, offering a more efficient delivery for certain drugs. It's particularly beneficial in emergencies or when immediate drug action is required. Curious about how this technique could impact your healthcare experience? Dive deeper into the world of IV therapy with us.
Susan Abe
Susan Abe

An IV push refers to a bolus — a dosage of medication and limited fluid — administered intravenously (IV), relatively quickly and during a single administration session. The technique usually utilizes an existing heparin lock or an ongoing IV fluid line, if the medication is compatible with the larger IV system fluid and contents. The IV cannula must be confirmed as safely within the lumen of the vein to avoid delivery of the medication to the surrounding tissues. In addition to this precaution, the correct medication, dosage and delivery order must be confirmed to ensure patient safety. Medical advantages of administering a drug via IV push include a greater systemic concentration of the drug sooner than provided by other delivery routes, administration of a drug when patients cannot take anything by mouth, and reduction of the number and discomfort of intramuscular (IM) injection sites.

Emergency situations are an excellent example of the advantages of administering a medication by push. Effective systemic drug concentrations are reached much more quickly by pushing the IV than most other routes of administration. Faster systemic drug concentration times allow the medication to begin working sooner. This is an important consideration whether the drug is necessary to help restart a heartbeat in a cardiac code, to quickly get antibiotic concentrations up to therapeutic level during a massive infection, or to rapidly relieve a patient's pain. For instance, pain medication administered by IV push can begin to relieve a patient's pain within moments, much faster than the 20 to 30 minutes needed for medications taken by mouth to become effective.

An IV cannula and tubing.
An IV cannula and tubing.

IV push medication administration is also helpful when a patient is unable to take medications by mouth — as in preoperative situations or when the patient is unconscious — or when a patient is experiencing vomiting or nausea that precludes drug absorption via the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Most anti-emetics, or anti-nausea medications, administered in the hospital are administered by push. In some situations, medications that can be administered by IV or by IV push can also be administered intramuscularly (IM). IV or IV push administration of these medications prevents the patient from experiencing the pain or discomfort of an IM "shot," particularly when multiple administrations of the drug may be necessary.

An IV push can quickly boost intravenous antibiotics to therapeutic levels.
An IV push can quickly boost intravenous antibiotics to therapeutic levels.

Finally, many patients with serious cardiovascular, renal or hepatic disorders must have their fluid balances carefully monitored. Administering their medications by pushing the IV, as opposed to a standard IV and dilution within a much larger amount of fluid, helps to limit fluid intake and minimize complications.

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Discussion Comments


@feruze-- Actually, what you are talking about is an IV drip, not an IV push. With an IV push, the medication is given rapidly, at once. With an IV drip, the medication is given slowly and in small amounts.

@literally45-- Did the IV push make you urinate a lot?

I had an IV push because of food poisoning. I couldn't take the medications orally because of vomiting and I was also a little dehydrated. I had a large bag of serum with medications, it took about four hours to finish.

I felt much better after the IV push but it made me urinate so much! I went to the bathroom all night because of it.


I received an IV bolus at the emergency a few days ago. I have high blood pressure and use medications for it daily. But Monday night, my blood pressure suddenly started to go up. I felt it because I always get pressure in my chest when my blood pressure is higher than normal.

Within a few hours, my blood pressure went up to 190 even though I took another medication and an aspirin. By the time we got to to the emergency, it was 200. The emergency doctor had the nurse give me an IV bolus with medication inside. The IV had a calcium channel blocker to reduce my blood pressure and a sedative to relax me.

The IV bolus worked amazingly fast. My blood pressure went down to 130 in less than a half hour. The doctor actually had the IV removed half-way through because it worked too well and she was worried that my blood pressure would go down too much.

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    • An IV cannula and tubing.
      By: Aleksandrs Jermakovi
      An IV cannula and tubing.
    • An IV push can quickly boost intravenous antibiotics to therapeutic levels.
      By: Africa Studio
      An IV push can quickly boost intravenous antibiotics to therapeutic levels.
    • An IV push typically utilizes an existing heparin lock or ongoing IV fluid line.
      By: ShpilbergStudios
      An IV push typically utilizes an existing heparin lock or ongoing IV fluid line.