The term pharmacological drug refers to medications used for treating or managing various conditions. It is essential that nurses have an in-depth understanding of the pharmacological drug, their mechanisms of action, adverse effects, interactions and indications.
Nurses may come across a variety of different pharmacological medications, such as:
- Analgesics is a term used for drugs that manage pain. These drugs are prescribed to treat acute and chronic pain. They can also be classified into opioids, nonsteroidal analgesics (NSAIDs) or adjuvants.
- Antibiotics are medications that treat bacteria infections. The antibiotics are classified by their broad spectrum or narrow spectrum and can be taken orally, intravenously or both.
- Anticoagulants are drugs that prevent blood clots, reduce stroke and heart attack risk. Direct-acting and indirect-acting are the two main types of anticoagulants.
- Antidepressants are medications that treat mental disorders such as depression. They can be classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
- Antihypertensives are drugs that lower blood pressure. They can be classified as diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), or calcium channel blockers.
- Antipsychotics are medications that treat psychosis, as well as other conditions of mental health. These drugs can either be classified as atypical or typical antipsychotics.
- They are prescribed to treat respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) and asthma. These drugs can either be short-acting or longer-acting.
Nursing staff must understand the potential effects of pharmacological medications, including dosage and route of administration. Also, they must be familiar with any interactions between drugs and contraindications. Nurses may also be responsible for monitoring the patient’s response to the medication and adjusting the dosage as needed.
As well as administering medication, nurses are also responsible for informing patients of their medication. This includes how to take it, any possible side effects, or interactions with foods and other medicines.
In general, pharmaceutical drugs are important in the nursing profession. It is vital that nurses have an understanding of their effects on patient care.