How to Take Oral Nutritional Supplements

Please note, this page is printable by selecting the normal print options on your computer.

The aim of this diet sheet is to help you to take your prescribed Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) well.

ONS are prescribed by your doctor, usually on the advice of a Dietitian. The Dietitian will assess your requirements and will discuss options with you to find the plan that best suits your needs.

There are various categories of ONS that may be considered for you, although some may not be suitable for your current needs. There are various companies who make each type and your Dietitian will help you choose which product(s) is best for you at each review. If you have diabetes, bowel problems, poor wound healing or other particular needs, there may be a specialist product that is more suitable for you but is not listed over the page.

You will need to place your prescription order with your local pharmacy, as with all your other prescribed medication, and arrange for delivery or collection. A month’s worth of ONS may be very bulky to transport so please discuss your options with your pharmacist. ONS should appear on your repeat medication list and you can reorder each month. Unless you have specified otherwise with the Dietitian, “mixed flavours” will be prescribed so you should review your flavour choices with the pharmacist when you place your order.

Serving Suggestions
Some ONS can be simply sipped slowly from the bottle with a straw or poured into a cup, others require hot or cold full fat milk to be added, and some should be taken as small “shot” doses. If too much is taken too quickly, they can cause an upset stomach. Most are more palatable served at cold or hot temperatures. Many can be added to recipes to increase variety and some ideas for this can be found over the page.

Although you should adhere to the individual recommendations on each product’s packaging, here are some general tips to help avoid problems:

• Most ONS can be kept open at room temperature for four hours. Any leftovers should be thrown away at this point.
• Most ONS can be kept open in the fridge for 24 hours. This may be helpful if you find you need more than four hours to take one dose; or would like a break in between.
• Recipes made with ONS, and not consumed immediately, should be kept in the fridge and used within 24 hours.
• Unopened ONS can be kept at room temperature, however, be aware that garages, conservatories and outbuildings often experience extremes of temperature in the summer or winter.
• If you have been recommended Thickened Fluids (IDDSI Levels 2, 3 or 4) by a Speech and Language Therapist, please contact the Dietitian for consideration of a pre-thickened ONS if you don’t already have one. Please note, these products cannot be heated or mixed into recipes as this would affect their stability.

Our contact details:
Community Dietitians
Nutrition and Dietetics Department
Milton Keynes Hospital
Standing Way
Milton Keynes
Tel 01908 995416 Fax: 01908 997780
Email: [email protected]