- Medications you carry and can prescribe
- Oxygen: can prescribe for any patient, especially those with hypoxia and inadequate breathing. Administered via inhalation.
- Oral glucose: prescribe for diabetic patients with hypoglycemia. Administered orally.
- Activated charcoal: prescribe for patients who have swallowed poisons (charcoal binds poisons and carry them out of the body through bowel movements). Administer orally.
- Aspirin: prescribe for chest pain related to clots blocking the coronary arteries (Aspirin is a blood thinner, it prevents clots from forming). Administer orally.
- Medications the patient carries that you can help administer
- Metered-dose inhaler (MDI): asthma and other patients with respiratory diseases have this. It is used to dilate the bronchioles. Administer by inhalation.
- Nitroglycerin (nitro): cardiac patients have these. It is a vasodilator, which lowers blood pressure and increases blood supply to the heart. Administer by sublingual means. Note: do not administer for patients with low blood pressure (below 90 systolic or 30 below the baseline blood pressure) or who are taking drugs for erectile dysfunction.
- Epinephrine (epi): patients with severe allergies (anaphylaxis) have this, usually in the form of an epi pen (auto-injector). The epinephrine counters the effects of anaphylaxis. Administer by injection (using the epi pen).
- Administration route.
- Sublingual: placed under the tongue, absorbed across the mucous membrane.
- Oral: swallowed.
- Administration form.
- Tablet / compressed powder: taken orally or sublingually. For example, aspirin or nitro.
- Liquid for injection: for example, epi.
- Gel: taken orally. For example, glucose.
- Suspension: taken orally. For example activated charcoal.
- Fine powder for inhalation: these are mists. for example, MDIs.
- Gas: for example oxygen.
- Spray: these are droplets. Some nitro is in the spray form, where droplets are deposited with each spray.
- Nebulizer: these are aerosols. For example, MDIs.
- Medication terminology
- Indications: situations that you should administer a medication.
- Contraindications: situations that you should NOT administer a medication.
- Dose: how much medication to give.
- Administration: administration route and form.
- Actions: the effect of the drug.
- Side effects: negative effects of the drug.
- Steps to check for in administering medication
- Right circumstance: either on-line or off-line medical direction calls for the administration of this medication for this situation. Do NOT administer medication without medical direction or set protocol.
- Right patient: check prescription label to make sure it's not prescribed for someone else.
- Right date: make sure the drug is not past its expiration date.
- Right medication: check to make sure that what's inside the container is indeed the right drug. Watch out for discoloration or impurities and discard any medication that has "gone bad".
- Right dose: too little won't have an effect. Too much can be dangerous for the patient.
- Right route: make sure you can distinguish between sublingual and oral. For example, nitro is sublingual, so place it under the tongue (don't let the patient swallow it).