Difference Between 5 Dextrose and Dextrose Saline (With Table)

Dextrose is a type of sugar. It also gets called an intravenous sugar solution as the solution of dextrose is supposed to be administrated into one or more veins. Both 5 dextrose and dextrose saline contain dextrose, and yet they are not similar solutions. They have different compositions and functions, and they work as a treatment for different ailments.

5 Dextrose vs Dextrose Saline

The difference between 5 dextroses and dextrose saline is that 5 dextroses are made with dextrose and water, whereas dextrose saline includes water, dextrose and in addition to that sodium chloride. 5 dextrose is meant for maintaining the water balance of the body, whereas dextrose saline works as a replacement for the water already lost.

Dextrose is a type of sugar, and in the solution, 5% dextrose is required. This solution is a great treatment for dehydration and low blood sugar. It maintains the glucose and water of the body and is capable of working as both isotonic and hypotonic. This is a mixture of dextrose and water and nothing else.

Dextrose saline, as the name implies, is a type of saline, which includes water and sodium chloride in addition to dextrose. It replaces the lost water of the body. Its elements let it work as a hypertonic. It works through the veins and be a source of nourishment.

Comparison Table Between 5 Dextrose and Dextrose Saline

Parameters of Comparison5 DextroseDextrose Saline
Meaning It is a mixture of water and dextrose where the quantity of dextrose is 5%.It is a mixture of water, sodium chloride and dextrose.
Source of It provides calories and also supplies carbohydrates.It supplies electrolytes.
CompositionIt is made of dextrose and water. It is made of water, dextrose and sodium chloride.
TypeIn the beginning, it is isotonic and then becomes hypotonic.It is hypertonic.
Usage5 dextrose is for maintaining water balance in the body.Dextrose saline is for replacing the water loss after surgery.

What is 5 Dextrose?

The 5 in 5 dextrose stands for 5 per cent of dextrose. It is a mixture of water and dextrose. It is an intravenous solution, which means this solution is given through nerves. Dextrose is a type of sugar, so 5 dextrose is a sugar solution. To make this solution, one needs to put 5 gms of dextrose in 100ml of water. The dextrorotatory glucose will easily dissolve water. 

Water that goes out of the cell gets balanced by the water into the cell. This is why it works as an isotonic solution. It starts this process soon as it gets injected into the body. It does not act as the cause of increasing heat in the body.

Parenteral Fluid Therapy can be done by using 5 dextroses. Patients who are not capable of eating any solid food through the mouth get this therapy, and 5 dextrose solution gets used for them. It revives patients who are suffering from dehydration. This solution replaces the fluid that gets lost and keep the fluid requirement intact. 5 dextrose is enriched with nutrients such as calories and carbohydrates, and due to this, it gets used in the treatment of low blood sugar.

What is Dextrose Saline?

Dextrose saline is a sugar solution where sodium chloride and water gets used in addition to dextrose. Sodium chloride, or in plain words, salt, gets dissolved in water as usual. This sterile solution is intravenous, which gets administered directly into the veins. It works as an electrolyte that helps to replenish the fluids in the body.

Ideally, this solution should contain 5% dextrose and 0.45% sodium chloride. So in 100ml of water, 5g dextrose and 0.45g of sodium chloride should get mixed. Dextrose saline is hypertonic, and when it is administered to the veins, it nourishes the body in the shape of carbohydrates and electrolytes.

As this solution includes sodium chloride, aka NaCl, it contains Na+ ions and Cl– ions, and these ions are very important for our body. Although this mixture has no sort of anti-microbial agents in it.

Main Differences Between 5 Dextrose and Dextrose Saline

  1. 5 dextrose is a mixture of water and dextrose where the quantity of dextrose is 5%, while dextrose saline is a mixture of water, sodium chloride and dextrose.
  2. 5 dextrose does not contain sodium chloride or NaCl or, in plain words, salt. However, dextrose saline contains sodium chloride as one of its ingredients.
  3. 5 dextrose provides calories and also supplies carbohydrates to the patient; however, dextrose saline supplies electrolytes.
  4. 5 dextrose is for maintaining the water balance of the body and Dextrose saline, on the other hand, is responsible for replacing the water that gets lost during and post-surgery.
  5. 5 dextrose is for people who are unable to eat anything through their mouth, and dextrose saline is meant to replace lost fluid after surgery.
  6. In the beginning, 5 dextrose is isotonic, and later it becomes hypotonic, but dextrose saline is always hypertonic.


The main ingredient of 5 dextroses and dextrose saline is the same. Both contain sugar, dextrose. Not only this, but the two share many other similarities. For instance, both are sterile and nonpyrogenic as well. Both are intravenous, which means they are given through veins. Containing glucose, both provide carbohydrates to the body.

But despite so many similarities, they are not the same. They possess many differences, and they work to fulfil different functions. Regardless of their similarities, they can not get used interchangeably. Which solutions should be used for a particular patient is completely a doctor’s decision. According to the patient’s need, the doctor will suggest the right solution.

People who can not consume food or liquid through the mouth should get 5 dextroses, but dextrose saline can be used for anyone who has lost body water after surgery. This saline can replenish the lost amount of water and keep the body healthy.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673682922279
  2. https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/fulltext/2013/02000/Dextrose_Saline_Compared_With_Normal_Saline.13.aspx
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