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Vial vs. Ampoule: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 27, 2023
A vial is a small bottle typically used for storing liquids, whereas an ampoule is a sealed glass or plastic bulb containing a dose of medication or a sample, usually meant to be broken open for use.
Vial vs. Ampoule

Key Differences

Vials are small containers made of glass or plastic used for holding liquid or powdered medications, samples, or chemicals. Ampoules, however, are typically small glass or plastic vessels, hermetically sealed to contain a sterile pharmaceutical liquid or a sample.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
The design of a vial usually includes a screw cap or a stopper, making it reusable and suitable for multiple uses. In contrast, ampoules are designed for single use; they are sealed and need to be broken to access the contents, ensuring sterility and preventing contamination.
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Dec 27, 2023
Vials can vary in size but are generally larger than ampoules, accommodating more content. Ampoules are often used for precise, single-dose applications, particularly in medical and scientific settings, ensuring an exact dosage.
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Dec 27, 2023
In terms of material, vials can be made from a variety of materials, including glass and plastic, offering flexibility in usage. Ampoules are primarily made of glass for their ability to maintain sterility and integrity of the contained substance.
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Comparison Chart

Usage

For storage of liquids/samples
Contains single doses
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Design

Screw cap or stopper
Sealed, needs breaking
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Reusability

Often reusable
Single-use
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Size

Generally larger
Smaller, precise dosage
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Material

Glass or plastic
Primarily glass
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Vial and Ampoule Definitions

Vial

A small container for liquids.
She filled the vial with the solution.
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Ampoule

A sealed glass container.
The vaccine was stored in an ampoule.
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Vial

Often used in laboratories.
The vial contained a critical sample for testing.
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Ampoule

Used for sterile substances.
The ampoule preserved the sterility of the contents.
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Vial

A glass or plastic bottle.
The lab technician labeled the vial.
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Ampoule

Contains a single dose.
The nurse broke the ampoule for the injection.
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Vial

Used for storing medications.
The nurse prepared the medication in a vial.
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Ampoule

Breakable to access contents.
He carefully broke the ampoule at its neck.
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Vial

Can be sealed with a stopper.
He sealed the sample in the vial securely.
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Ampoule

Common in medical settings.
Ampoules ensure precise dosage for patients.
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Vial

A small container, usually with a closure, used especially for liquids.
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Oct 19, 2023

Ampoule

A hermetically sealed vial made of glass or plastic that contains a sterile medicinal solution or a powder that is usually made into a solution for subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intravenous injection.
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Oct 19, 2023

Vial

To put or keep in or as if in a vial.
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Oct 19, 2023

Ampoule

A small hermetically sealed vial, often used to contain a sterile solution suitable for injection.
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Vial

A glass vessel or bottle, especially a small tube-shaped bottle used to store medicine, perfume or other chemicals.
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Ampoule

Same as ampule.
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Vial

(transitive) To put or keep in, or as in, a vial.
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Ampoule

A small bottle that contains a drug (especially a sealed sterile container for injection by needle)
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Vial

A small bottle, usually of glass; a little glass vessel with a narrow aperture intended to be closed with a stopper; as, a vial of medicine.
Take thou this vial, being then in bed,And this distilled liquor drink thou off.
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Vial

To put in a vial or vials.
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Vial

A small bottle that contains a drug (especially a sealed sterile container for injection by needle)
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can vials be reused?

Yes, many vials are designed for multiple uses.
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How is an ampoule designed?

As a sealed glass container for single use.
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What is inside an ampoule?

Usually a single dose of medication or sample.
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What is a vial used for?

For storing liquids or samples, often in labs.
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Do ampoules protect against contamination?

Yes, their sealed design prevents contamination.
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What materials are ampoules made from?

Mostly glass for maintaining sterility.
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Can vials have stoppers?

Yes, they often have screw caps or stoppers.
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Are vials only used in laboratories?

No, they're also used in medical settings.
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Are vials only made of glass?

No, they can be made of plastic too.
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What sizes do vials come in?

They vary, but generally are larger than ampoules.
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Why are ampoules used in medicine?

For precise, sterile single doses.
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Is an ampoule reusable?

No, it's designed for single use only.
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Are vials safe for storing chemicals?

Yes, they're commonly used for chemical storage.
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Can ampoules be recycled?

They should be disposed of properly, usually not recycled.
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Why are ampoules preferred for some medications?

For precise dosing and maintaining sterility.
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How do you open an ampoule?

By breaking the neck of the ampoule.
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Do vials come in different shapes?

Yes, they can have various shapes.
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Are ampoules breakable?

Yes, they are designed to be broken for use.
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Can vials be plastic?

Yes, plastic vials are common.
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Are vials used for injections?

Yes, especially for storing injectable medications.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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