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Ask a Fertility Nurse: What's the Definition of 'Amp?'


by Gina Paoletti-Falcone, RN, BSN, Freedom Fertility Pharmacy, October 13, 2010


When I am told to take 2 amps of Menopur, is that using two vials of the dry mix with 1 cc of diluent? Would 300 units of a fertility drug be three vials dry to 1cc of diluent? I just want to understand the definition of an amp and if it is the same as using the word 'units'.

Nurse Gina Says:

An “amp” is short for “ampule," which is a “hermetically sealed small bulbous glass vessel that is used for holding medication to be given by injection.” In the past, there were some injectable fertility drugs that came in ampules and some that came in vials. The basic difference is that ampules had a narrow scored neck (think duck pin bowling) that you actually had to snap off while vials have a rubber stopper that you insert the needle through to get at the medication or diluents.

Some patients had difficulty snapping the tops off of ampules. I actually had some husbands crush the glass top as they held it using a gauze pad between their thumb and forefinger. When this happened, everyone worried about shards of glass in the medication, despite the fact that the bevel of the needle is really too small to let that happen. In those days we did sometimes instruct patients to “take 2 ampules."

At this time none of the injectable fertility drugs come in ampules. Everything is in vials, prefilled syringes, cartridges or pens, which really make things much easier, but the terminology can be confusing. That is why I think it’s best to think about your medication dose in terms of IUs (international units) which is the way that these hormone preparations are measured (like milligrams in most of the pill form medications that we take).

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Gina Paoletti-Falcone, RN, BSN is a graduate of Northeastern University and has worked in Women’s Health since 1978. In 2004, Gina joined Freedom Fertility Pharmacy as the Clinical Educator responsible for developing infertility educational content for employees, patients, nurse, and managed care plans in print and online. Gina writes a fertility blog on the Freedom Fertility Pharmacy website and enjoys educating and empowering patients to take an active role in their fertility treatment.

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