Route of Administration

Route of administration is the means by which drugs and other substances are delivered into the body.

Why is the route of administration important?

Choosing the correct route of administration is vital to ensuring the delivery of the most efficacious dose in the most convenient way, with the lowest risk of side effects.

This can consider the location of treatment, such as topical application of certain medications, which can be applied locally without risking systemic side effects while controlling the amount of the drug to the lowest effective dose possible. 

It also ensures that the right amount of drug reaches the targeted site through the consideration of the rate of absorption and metabolism of the drug. 

What are the different routes of administration?

There are three major categories of routes of administration that can be broken down further for specific methods of drug delivery.

1. Enteral routes of administration

  • Oral
  • Sublingual and buccal 
  • Rectal

2. Parenteral routes of administration

  • Subcutaneous
  • Intramuscular
  • Intravenous
  • Intrathecal 

3. Other routes of administration

  • Topical
  • Ocular
  • Otic
  • Intranasal
  • Vaginal

Source: Kim, J., & Jesus, O. D. (2022). Medication Routes of Administration. In Stat Pearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from