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Difference between 5 Dextrose and Dextrose Saline

Difference between 5 Dextrose and Dextrose Saline

Have you ever been in a situation where your doctor asked you to differentiate between 5% Dextrose and Dextrose Saline? When it comes to administering fluids intravenously, determining the right fluid type for a particular patient is important. The main difference lies in their composition as 5% Dextrose contains no salt or electrolytes while dextrose saline (or 0.45% NaCl) contains 3.5 grams of sodium chloride per liter along with other electrolytes like calcium, potassium, etc. Both are available commercially but understanding the differences and how these solutions are used can help us better manage our patients’ health outcomes.

What is 5 Dextrose?

5 Dextrose is an intravenous (IV) solution used to maintain hydration and electrolyte balance in patients. The 5 Dextrose solution typically contains 5% of the disaccharide molecule known as dextrose or glucose.

  • The 5 Dextrose solution is also supplemented with electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and sodium to help replenish lost electrolytes and stimulate the excretion of fluid from the body.
  • 5 Dextrose is usually administered through a vein via a saline flush syringe or IV infusion line. 5 Dextrose can be given to patients under medical supervision for various medical conditions such as low blood sugar levels and dehydration.
  • 5 Dextrose provides important hydration benefits for those suffering from prolonged illness, tissue damage, or severe infection that result in rapid loss of fluids during recovery cycles.

What is Dextrose Saline?

Dextrose Saline often referred to as Dextran, is a mixture of Dextrose and Sodium Chloride that is typically used for medical purposes. Dextrose Saline functions to provide a source of calories, electrolytes, and water when administered intravenously or intra-arterially. Dextrose Saline also helps to prevent low blood sugar levels and reduce swelling in the body for improved tissue perspiration. Furthermore, Dextrose Saline is also used to help control metabolic acidosis and increase tissue perfusion. Dextrose Saline has many important clinical applications, making it an essential item in medical facilities.

Difference between 5 Dextrose and Dextrose Saline

5 Dextrose and Dextrose Saline are medical solutions used in various treatments, though they differ in their specific characteristics. 5 Dextrose is 5% dextrose — a form of sugar — dissolved in water, while Dextrose Saline typically contains 5% dextrose and 0.18% cations in saline solution (sodium chloride). 5 Dextrose is primarily used to treat dehydration or hypertonicity, as well as to provide a source of easily-availability energy.

On the other hand, Dextrose Saline is normally used to replenish electrolytes lost due to illness or trauma, since it provides more than just glucose. Both 5 Dextrose and Dextrose Saline are effective forms of fluid replacement therapy; however, it is important to understand the differences between them in order to choose the appropriate solution for an individual’s needs.


Even though both dextrose solutions are commonly used for IV therapy, it’s important to know the difference between them. Dextrose 5% in 0.9% saline ishypertonic whereas dextrose 5% in water is hypotonic. This means that the former solution has a greater concentration of solutes than the latter does. Because of this difference, dextrose 5% in 0.9% saline can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances when given for prolonged periods of time.

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