Intravenous means "within a vein." It usually refers to giving medications or fluids through a needle or tube inserted into a vein. This allows immediate access to the blood supply. For example, your health care provider may prescribe medications to be given through a vein, or an intravenous (IV) line.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.