Idiots Guide to Drugs...

  1. What would you say are the top 10 - 15 drugs that you give on a regular basis? I am in desperate need of a quick and dirty pharm review.

    You see, I am about to start semester 4 out of 5 of a BSN program, which is the last semester of clinicals before I graduate. I'm also hoping to begin an externship on a Med/Surg floor within the next few weeks. The problem is that drug memorization has not come easily for me and I have not retained much of what little I did manage to memorize for exams.

    I would like to at least have a basic knowledge of the most commonly used drugs at this point. I really appreciate your help!
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    About belabelisa

    Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 79; Likes: 6
    Clinical Trials Nurse
    Specialty: Oncology


  3. by   meownsmile
    First of all calm down. Your instructors know that you cant memorize everything you need to know about common drugs until you have used them and looked them up a few times. That all comes with experience. Start by looking at the MAR of your clinical patients. Make a list of each patients meds every day and see how many show up repeatedly. To just give you a list may not really do you any good, because doctors use different medications in different areas. Watch for repeating pain medications,, morhpine, lortab, tramadol, toradol. Watch for some of the GI meds, protonix, carafate, reglan, zofran, inapsine. Maybe some cardiac drugs : Cardizem, Toprol, Benicar, maybe a few diuretics,, lasix, HCTZ. Supplements:Potassium, calcium. Just to name a few,, but like i said, watch the MAR's of your patients. Youll see quite a few again and again. Go to your drug book and read, read, read.
  4. by   jjjoy
    It's frustrating as a new grad/almost graduated student because you've been taught a little of everything but haven't had the repeated experience needed to really make it stick. What drugs you'll need to know while working really depends on what type of patient you are working with. When you start working, you're supposed to "get up to speed" ASAP and there's often an assumption that you should already know everything but it seems to me that for safe practice you'll need to be slow at first as you familiarize yourself with types of conditions you're coming across regularly. This is also when you'll need to "study" at home even though there's no test. It may not stick the first time. Or the second time. But with enough exposure, enough will stick that you won't need to be looking up everything.
  5. by   HappyNurse2005
    for me personally, its pitocin, fentanyl (for epidurals), magnesium sulfate, terbutaline, procardia, prenatal vitamins, penicillin, etc. doesn't reallly applly to med surg, though.

    For med surg purposes-Protonix, Lopressor, Postassium, Aspirin, Lortab, Lovenox, Lasix.....
  6. by   GingerSue
    I find myself thinking the same way - prepare for some of the common drugs

    digoxin, lasix, potassium, insulin, dilantin, nitroglycerine, morphine,
    clonidine, prozac, ativan - just a start
  7. by   TazziRN
    Calm down! I've been doing this for nearly 19 years and I still don't have everything memorized!
  8. by   CarVsTree
    My idiot's guide to drugs is the pharmacist.

    By the time this thread is done, you will probably have 1500 drugs as every unit is different depending on pt. population.

    I work trauma step down so here is my list of what I give most and why:

    Morphine - pain
    Fentanyl - pain
    Various oral opiates - pain
    Toradol - inflammation and subsequent pain
    Motrin - inflammation and subsequent pain
    Robaxin - muscle relaxer
    Methadone - heroin w/d, pain
    Ativan - agitation/anxiety
    Haldol - agitation/completely off rocker
    Phenergan (until 1/1/07 then bye-bye phenergan :uhoh21: ) vomitting
    Zofran - nausea
    Lopressor - tachy/HTN
    Multivits/Vit C/Iron - for blood/tissue replacement
    Heparin/Lovenox/Coumadin - DVT prophylaxis/tx
  9. by   jimthorp
    lopressor- beta blocker
    lisinopril- ACE inhibitor
    digoxin- inotropic
    Plavix- antiplatelet
    Zocor- lipid lowering
    coumadin- anticoagulant
    Lovenox- anticoagulant
    furosemide- loop diuretic
    Klor-Con- potassium suppliment
    Slo-Mag- Mg suppliment
    Ativan- antianxiety
    Novolin 70/30- insulin
    Novolog 100- insuln
    Lantus- insulin
    hydrocodone/acetaminophen- analgesia
    oxycodone/acetaminophen- analgesia
    tramadol- analgesia
    Bactrim DS- antiinfective
    vancomycin- antiinfective
    cephalexin- antiinfective
    ciprofloxacin- antiinfective
    ASA- prophylaxis for MI and TIA
    MVI- vitamin suppliment
    ducosate sodium- stool softener
  10. by   cota2k
    dilaudid, toradol, lortab, pepcid, reglan, phenergan, rocephin, levaquin, morphine, nitro, asa, lopressor, cardizem, heparin, integrilin.

    Just like everybody is saying. You could spend hours, days and weeks studying a PDR and someone would still "slip one by you." Look at what is popular on the m/s floor, try to match Dx with meds and look at generic names and their endings, sometimes there is a common suffix.
  11. by   wannabemw
    The one thing that really heped me was w/Kaplan prep they had a video that I watched. The speaker told us that is most impt to memorize the catagories of the drugs; side effects/food/meds that you could/couldn't take with that cat of drug & expected therapeutic level either physical or psychosocial. After I realized this, it all fell into place for me. I finally realized what my instructors had been trying to teach me all along.

    - BP meds: well- what do you need to do before you give them? CK the pt's apical pulse (if pt = brady DON'T give!) Are there any labs r/t this med? Have you the ck'ed K+ lab levels?
    - Anticoaguants- is it heparin or comadin? If Heparin you need to ck the PT levels. If Coumadin ck the PTT (someone correct me if I'm wrong... its late & I have been an insomniac tonight!)

    Get the idea?
    I'm finally gonna get some shut eye... Me tks I'm ready!
  12. by   classicdame
    Top 5in the nursery?In ICU? In Recovery???? No such animal.
  13. by   Katnip
    Unfortunately, every hospital formulary is different. There's really no such thing as 10-15 most common drugs.

    Pain meds, maybe. But I've had different physicians prefer different pain meds. Same with antibiotics. Depends on what's wrong with the patient.

    Even the lists here are posted differently. Mutli-vits. Never used those in our ED. Rarely even had to use insulin in the ED. But on the floors, yes.

    Nobody excepts anybody to remember them all. It's best to study the classes of drugs, then see if your prof mentions some of the most common drugs in each class.
  14. by   mauxtav8r
    As Meownsmile said above, and as a good (experienced) nurse friend counseled me . . .

    Drugs come in groups. A "cardiac" patient will usually have something for BP, something for fluid management, possibly a CHF-drug. You get the idea. A "post-op" will have a cluster of stuff that pertains to a) the surgery itself, and b) their original complaint, plus c) their other chronic history stuff.

    Remember what groups usually go together for the big/common diseases. After a while you will notice that some docs (or some hospitals) favor one drug over another (Zofran or Kytril, they don't generally get both).

    I'll repeat what was said above, review the med sheet and stick to the categories.