The Pharmaceutics and Compounding Laboratory
Sterile Compounding

Aseptically Transferring Drug From an Glass Ampule

Ampules have a colored stripe around the neck if they are pre-scored to indicate the neck has been weakened by the manufacturer to facilitate opening. Some ampules are not pre-scored by the manufacturer, and the neck must first be weakened (scored) with a fine file. The ampule is always broken open at the neck.

To open an ampule:

  1. Hold the ampule upright and tap the top to remove solution from the head space.
  2. Swab the neck of the ampule with an alcohol swab.
  3. 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.
  4. Quickly snap the ampule moving your hands away and out from you. Do not open the ampule toward the HEPA filter or any other sterile supplies in the hood. If the ampule does not snap easily, rotate it slightly and try again.
  5. Inspect the opened ampule for any particles of glass that might have fallen inside.

To transfer the drug solution from an 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.

View a video demonstration on how to open and draw
from an ampule