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CHAPTER 16
General
Pharmacology
Pharmacology:
The science that deals with the
origins, ingredients, uses and
actions of medical substances.
Drug:
A substance that alters the
body’s functions when
absorbed.
Medication Information
Types or Categories
of Medications
The EMT who is familiar with the
name, dose, route, effects,
indications and contraindications
of a drug, and has medical
director approval, can assist a
patient with their medication.
Medication Types or Categories

EMS unit medications
Activated charcoal
 Oral glucose
 Oxygen


Physician-prescribed patient medications
Nitroglycerin
 Epinephrine auto-injector
 Inhalers

Medications Activated
Charcoal
Medications - Oral Glucose
Medications - Oxygen
Medications Inhaler
Medications Nitroglycerin
Medications Epinephrine
Assisting with
Medications
Medication
Names
Generic name:
The name listed in the United States
Pharmacopeia; a government
publication listing all medications
used in the United States.
Trade name:
A copyrighted brand name assigned
to a medicine by its manufacturer.
The trade name is capitalized and
followed by the ® symbol.
Generic and Trade Names
of Selected Medications
Generic Name
Trade Name
Oral glucose
Insta-glucose
Albuterol
Proventil
Nitroglycerin
Nitrostat
Epinephrine
Adrenalin
Medication
Forms
Forms of Medication






Tablet
Gel
Gas
Aerosol
Liquid
Ointment






Paste
Cream
Powder
Syrup
Pill
Capsule
Drug
Dynamics
Drug Actions

Systemic


Affecting the entire body
Local

Affecting a specific area of
the body
Absorption:
Uptake of a substance
through some surface of
the body.
Elimination:
The removal of a substance
from the body.
Drugs are eliminated by way of the
liver, kidney, bowels and lungs.
Medication
Administration
Indications and
Contraindications
Indication:
The intended use of a
medication for treating a
specific illness or condition.
Contraindication:
A situation in which a
medication should not be used
due to the potential for harm
it might cause a patient.
Dose:
The prescribed or
recommended amount of a
medication that should be
administered to a patient.
Five Rs of Drug Administration

Right patient

Right drug

Right time

Right dose

Right route
Administration
Routes
Routes of Administration

Oral
Generally safe, easy, and economical
 Medication is swallowed
 Absorbed slowly into digestive tract
 Patients must be alert to take
medications


Sublingual
Place medication under the tongue
 Absorbed rapidly into the capillaries
 Digestive tract is bypassed

Routes of Administration

continued
Inhalation

Fine mist or gas absorbed by the lung
capillaries

Patients may need assistance with
administration

Onset of action is generally rapid

Delivery of drug is usually an inhaler
device
Routes of Administration

Subcutaneous




continued
Drug is injected under skin into fat
Absorbed slowly by the surrounding
bloodstream
Common route for epinephrine
Intravenous



Liquid injected directly into the
bloodstream
Usually administered by ALS personnel
Onset of action is immediate
Routes of Administration

continued
Intramuscular



Drug is injected deep into muscle tissue
Absorbed slowly through capillaries
Common route for epinephrine
autoinjectors
Routes of Administration

Topical




continued
Applied and absorbed through the skin
Onset of action is very slow
Common medications administered are
NTG patches and creams
Rectal



Drug is given through anus into rectum
Absorbed at rate similar to oral route
Not commonly done in the field
If you receive an order to
administer a medication,
always repeat medication
name, dose and route back to
the physician for confirmation.
Medication Actions
Actions
Mechanism of action:
The desired effect of the
drug on the body.
Side
Effects
Side effects:
Any action of a drug other than
the desired one.
Common side effects of
numerous medications
include nausea and
vomiting.
Documentation and
Reassessment
Strategies
Medication Documentation

Who ordered the medication physician and time?

What medication was administered?

What time was the medication
administered?

What was the dose given?
Medication Documentation
continued

What was the route?

Who administered the drug?

What were the vital signs before and
after administration?

What was the patient’s response to
the medication?
SUMMARY

Medication Information

Medication Administration

Medication Actions
 Medication Documentation
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