Leila Cruikshank

Hypertonic saline

Why is this medication prescribed?
Hypertonic saline belongs to a class of drugs called mucolytics. Thick and sticky mucous can build up and block airways in the lungs. Using hypertonic saline may improve or help preserve lung function. It may also help decrease the number of respiratory tract infections.

How does this medication work?
Using Hypertonic Saline puts more salt and water into your lungs and makes sputum less thick. Thinner sputum is easier to cough up.

What is the usual dose?
5% Hypertonic Saline: The usual dose for adults is 5mL daily or twice daily.

7% Hypertonic Saline: The usual dose for adults is 4mL (1 ampoule) once or twice daily.

How should this medication be taken?
To prepare and take hypertonic saline, refer to Preparing Your Treatment, and Taking Your Treatment.

To prepare your dose (from a 5% bag):

1. Wipe insertion site of Hypertonic Saline bag with alcohol (swab).

2. Insert needle into port, and withdraw 5mL of Hypertonic Saline solution.

3. Expel all the contents of the syringe into your nebulizer.

To prepare your dose (from 7% ampoule):

1. Open the Hypertonic Saline ampoule by holding the bottom tab with one hand and twisting off the top of the ampoule with the other hand. Be careful not to squeeze the ampoule until you are ready to empty its contents into the nebulizer cup.

2. Squeeze all the contents of the ampoule into your nebulizer.

Take Hypertonic Saline at about the same time everyday so that it is easier to remember. It should be taken before physiotherapy session or activity. Do not take it in the evening before bed.

If you are taking other inhaled medication(s), please take them in this order.

Note: DO NOT dilute or mix hypertonic saline with other medications. Hypertonic Saline should be stored in the REFRIGERATOR in between uses. DO NOT freeze.
5% Hypertonic Saline bag should be thrown away if the solution is cloudy or discoloured. It contains no preservative and, once opened, should only be used for 1 week. Please change the Hypertonic Saline bag, needle, and syringe every week. To help you remember when to change the bag, label the bag with the date it was opened on.
7% Hypertonic Saline ampoule should be discarded if the contents are cloudy or have changed colour . Do not use past the date stamped on the ampoule.

After use, rinse your nebulizer well with warm water before your next treatment to prevent build up that can clog your nebulizer. For more thorough cleaning, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Equipment

What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose take it as soon as you remember but DO NOT double your dose of Hypertonic Saline.

What should I expect from this medication?
You may or may not experience side effects. These side effects may disappear but let your doctor know if they are severe or if they persist for more than 2 days. These include hoarseness, voice changes, chest tightness, wheezing, increased cough, or sore throat, but tell us if you have any other side effects as well!

Remember to tell your doctor if you have ever had a reaction to Hypertonic Saline or any other inhaled medication in the past.