Drugs given by a syringe driver: a prospective multicentre survey of palliative care services in the UK

Palliat Med. 2006 Oct;20(7):661-4. doi: 10.1177/0269216306070755.


The use of a syringe driver to administer drugs by continuous subcutaneous infusion is common practice in the UK. Over time, drug combinations used in a syringe driver are likely to change and the aim of this survey was to obtain a more recent snapshot of practice. On four separate days, at two-week intervals, a questionnaire was completed for every syringe driver in use by 15 palliative care services. Of 336 syringe drivers, the majority contained either two or three drugs, but one-fifth contained only one drug. The median (range) volume of the infusions was 15 (9.5-48) mL, and duration of infusion was generally 24 hours. Only one combination was reported as visually incompatible, and there were 13 site reactions (4% of total). Laboratory physical and chemical compatibility data are available for less than half of the most frequently used combinations.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Drug Therapy / methods
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infusion Pumps / statistics & numerical data*
  • Injections, Subcutaneous / instrumentation*
  • Injections, Subcutaneous / methods
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Syringes
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations