Administering D50 safely.
Yes, D50 is sugar water--but it's very concentrated sugar water. D50 has a pH of 4. That's like stomach acid! And it is very hyperosmolar with an osmolality of greater than 1,000. These qualities make D50 a caustic drug. Bear these facts in mind the next time that you need to give D50 to your patient; and administer the medication through a central line or through a running IV peripherally.
Lastly, remember that an ampule of D50 will increase the blood glucose by 200. Therefore careful monitoring should be done to assure that the patient doesn't rebound from the D50 and end up with a low blood sugar once again.
Drug label information: http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/ dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?id=1600
Moore, C. & Woollard, M. (2005). Dextrose 10% or 50% in the treatment of hypoglycaemia out of hospital? A randomised controlled trial. Emergency Medical Journal, 22: 512-5.
David W. Woodruff, MSN, RN, CNS, CEN www. Ed4Nurses.com, reprinted with permission.