Highlighted yellow are considered above an EMT-B knowledge level.



is the study of drugs and their interactions with the body.

A drug is defined as a substance which can be taken by , injected into a , , or cavity of the body. As well as via the lungs and applied onto the skin. In order for a drug to be approved by the it must be proven to , , or a disease or condition.

Drug Names

There are categories of drug names (actually there are 4 at an EMT-Basic level we focus of three). The is the most detailed description of the drug and states the molecular structure along with chemical composition. The name is nonproprietary name. name is assigned to foster brand loyalty amount its customers or is a catchy name to allow customers to remember it or associate with it. The official name (4th name) is the acknowledged name by the FDA and listed with the letters which stands for the United States Pharmacopeia.

General Properties of Drugs

Therapeutic effects describe what the drug will do. The drug explains how it causes the effects in the body. effects are untoward effects that come with the drug. Example is that Benadryl makes you tired. An adverse reaction to an untoward effect is categorized as being to it which may include systemic hives and difficulty breathing. Dose has many meanings; the dose is to total amount which may be given. The dose is the amount to be given per dose. is when to use the drug and has two categories; label which is what the drug has been studied and approved for and label which includes uses not involved in the study. Contraindicated means when not to use it. There are two categories; contraindications are when giving the drug is a case by case decision related to positive versus negative risks. contraindication is when you absolutely do not give it. For example the absolute contraindication for is 90 mmHg and the relative contraindication is 100 mmHg.


Intravenous (IV) injection is the and most reliably route of administration since the drug is given directly into the blood stream. which stands for "by mouth" is the route and takes about 20-30 minutes for most pills to start to work but substances like glucose, Tylenol and alcohol absorb much faster. Sublingual is absorption through the mucus membranes of the sublingual tissue. Most sublingual drugs are related. injection is when the needle enters the body at a 90 degree angle to the skin and administered into the middle of the muscle which allows for up to 2 mL (small muscles) to mL (larger muscles) to be given. injection is when the needle is placed at a 45 degree angle to the skin and typically does not exceed mL. SubQ is slower absorption than IM. is just as fast as IV and is given into the marrow. is when drugs are absorbed through the skin. is the second fastest route of absorption. stands for "per rectum" and is affected by contents so the dose is usually doubled.

Drug Forms

are compressed powders like Nitro and . Capsules are used to hide or protect the drug from high pH (acid) levels. An IV bag of 0.9% Sodium Chloride is termed a since it is a mixture of one or more substances. A is a mixture of particle distributed throughout a liquid by shaking; examples are MDI albuterol and charcoal. is a miniature spray container used to direct drugs through the mouth into the lungs. drugs are meant to stay on the top of the skin like Neosporin and sun lotions. drugs are designed to be absorbed into circulation through the skin like birth control patches and motion sickness patches. is via inhalation which include O2 and laughing gas known as . A is a solid material like vitamins or antibiotics that are cut/molded into a manageable size to swallow.

Drug Detoxification and Removal

Drug detoxification primarily takes place in the liver.  Think of the liver as a swimming pool filter. 

Drug excretion is the elimination of toxic or inactive metabolites from the body which primarily takes place in the but can also be accomplished in the intestines, lungs, sweat glands, mammary glands.

Factors that influence actions of drugs are; , body mass (weight), and temperature along with many others.

So remember that people who have poor liver and kidney function along with the elderly have problems metabolizing (using/removing) drugs from their body.

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