The Most Important Must Know Drugs For NCLEX

A list of drugs that you should be aware of for the NCLEX. Students NCLEX Article


The Most Important Must Know Drugs For NCLEX


Aspirin do not give together with other anticoagulants. Stop taking Aspirin some days before surgery. Do not give to children with viral infection(Reye syndrome)


e.g. Ibuprofen--Take with food; contraindicated for people with GI ulcers

Morphine: A respiratory depressant. It should be withheld if the respirations are below 10


Dilantin: Causes gum hyperplasia. Advice client to visit dentist frequently


Predisone: Causes Cushing like symptoms. Common side effects are immunosupression(monitor client for infection), hyperglycemia


Heparin: Monitor pt's lab work-PTT. Antidote is protamine sulfate

Coumadin: Monitor pt's lab work--PT. Antidote is Vitamin K


Cogentin: Used to treat EPS

Sinemet: Drug is effective when tremors are not observed


Theophylline/Aminophylline: Side effects--Tachycardia


Digoxin (Lanoxin): Signs of toxicity: Pt will complaint of visual change in colors. They would also complain of loss of appetite.


Magnesium Sulfate: Monitor for deep tendon reflex and respiratory depression


Hydrochlothiazide: Monitor potassium levels

Lasix: Monitor potassium levels

Aldactone: Potassium sparing


Lithium Carbonate: Know therapeutic range (0.8 to 1.2mEq). Also know symptoms of toxicity. Adequate fluid and salt intake is important.

MAOI inhibitors: Have dangerous food-drug interactions. Food with Tyramine should be avoided. For example: aged cheese, wine etc.

Disulfiram (Antabuse): Used for alcohol aversion therapy. Clients started on Disulfiram must avoid any form of alcohol or they would develop a severe reaction. Teach pt to avoid some over-the-counter cough preparations, mouthwash etc.


Oxytocin: Assess uterus frequently for tetanic contraction.


Narcan: Reverses the effects of narcotics

Calcium Gluconate: Antidote for magnesium sulfate

Vitamin K: Antidote for Coumadin

Questions have been asked on NCLEX recently about the following drugs:

Tegretol: side effects.

Atropine: What checks do you do before giving this drug (BP.)

Epogen: Used in treating anemia because it increases RBC production.

Acyclovir: anti-viral medication used in treating shingles.


  1. When a client is on antibiotics, teach the client to continue taking the medication even though they feel better
  2. Monitor client taking antibiotics such as Vancomycin for ototoxicity. Pt will complain of tinnitus, room spinning (vertigo) and nausea.
  3. Clients taking vasodilators e.g. Verapramil would complain of headache.

Helpful video on Drug Suffixes

1 Article   32 Posts

Share this post

Share on other sites

Thank you.


30 Posts


ogold, BSN, RN

1 Article; 32 Posts

You are welcome !!!


373 Posts

Thanks ;)

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

1 Article; 3,377 Posts

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

It's more important to know CLASSES of drugs, rather than specific ones. Drugs are constantly changing, and it's likely that you'll get medication questions about drugs that you've never heard of. NCLEX will give you the generic name, and the most common brand name. By the generic name, and the context of the question, you can usually break it down and figure out what kind of drug it is.

So don't worry too much about knowing individual drugs. Instead, study the classes.


For cardiac medication, the -olols (beta blockers: propranolol, atenolol) -prils (ACE-inhibitors: captopril, enalapril) -pines (Calcium channel blockers: Nifedipine) -ides (diuretics: Furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide)

Know the classes especially for cardiac medications, antibiotics, anti-emetics, anti-coagulants, analgesics and psychiatric medications: those are used more frequently. Don't forget about the psych meds- those questions actually come up quite frequently.

The medications within a certain class will have the similar actions, side effects, and precautions. It's really unlikely you'll get a question about a drug as common as Ibuprofen on the NCLEX. But you might see a drug like Ketoprofen or Ketorolac on the test. You might not be familiar with them, but if you know that the -profens and -lacs are NSAIDs and you've reviewed NSAIDs, you'll be able to answer the question.

It is helpful to know the differences between Warfarin and Heparin, the antidotes (and what foods contain Vitamin K) as well as the lab values that they effect.


62 Posts

thank you so much!!!


7 Posts

thanks ?


80 Posts

Thank you for the info. ?

Fantastic work...Thank you


81 Posts

Great job!!! Thanks for the vital information.


81 Posts

It think you are so right about this, the best way is to know the classes of drugs. Thanks

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X