Medication kit

Medicine can only cure curable disease, and then not always. - Chinese Proverb

It is always better to used medications you have taken before so you know how your individual body reacts to them.

From the Grocery Stores

Baking soda is most important for oral fluid replacement -- see below. It has been used as an antacid, though it is certainly not ideal. Persons who need to restrict sodium intake should not take soda for an upset stomach.

Coca-Coca syrup. One consultant suggested this as being surprisingly effective for nausea and vomiting.

Potassium Iodine to block thyroid gland to prevent uptake of radioactive iodine contaminating food and water, take 4 drops of a saturated solution daily. (Fill a brown dropper bottle about 60% full with crystals, then add water until bottle is 90% full. Shake. Check to be sure that some crystals remain out of solution.

Over the Counter Medications

  • Antihistamines
    • Chlorpheniramine 4 mg and/or
    • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25 mg (1000 tablets). Benadryl is also useful for hives, and of some value for nausea.
  • Aspirin 300 mg or 10 gr (1000 tablets)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 500-mg "extra strength" (1000 tablets)
  • Acetaminophen liquid for children (1 bottle)
  • Antacid (1000 aluminum-magnesium hydroxide tablets)
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Laxatives (200 senoxon tablets and 1000 milk of magnesia tablets). In small amounts, milk of magnesia can also help to replace magnesium lost in chronic diarrhea.
  • Petrolatum (vaseline, 1 lb). This lubricant and emollient is especially good for diaper rash or for making nonadherent dressings.
  • Pseudoephedrine 30 mg (1000 tablets). Give one or two tid-qid as a decongestant.
  • Tolnaftate powder (Tinactin, 45 gm). Apply bid-tid for fungal skin infections.
  • Zinc oxide (1 lb). This mild astringent and antiseptic is used in diaper rash and various skin diseases, or as a sunscreen.

Prescption Drugs

You should purchase an antibiotic guide, most medical book shops have small pocket guides detailing which drug to use for which bug and outlining sensitivities.

Storage and Rotation of Medications.

The following is not intended as a self-treatment guide, but as a guide to choosing drugs for storage. Always seek medical advice before using these potent drugs, all of which have potentially serious side effects, including death. Antibiotics should not be used when they are ineffective and unnecessary (as in viral infections) because of side effects and the risk of selecting out resistant bacteria.

For guidance in determining quantities, the usual duration of treatment for an episode of illness is about 10 days. Adult dosages are given unless otherwise indicated. Abbreviations: bid=twice a day; tid=three times daily; qid=four times daily.

Do not take outdated tetracycline, as kidney damage may result

Always ask the patient whether he is allergic to the drug. If he has a history of hives (an itchy skin rash) or wheezing or swelling in the mouth or throat, do not give the medication, as a fatal reaction may occur.


Penicillin V 500 mg (1000 tablets). Give 500 mg qid for Streptococcal, pneumococcal infections, anaerobic infections "above the diaphragm" such as abscessed teeth. Although its spectrum is limited, this drug is relatively cheap and causes fewer side effects such as diarrhea and vaginitis. Unfortunately, streptococci and pneumococci are increasingly resistant.

Amoxicillin 250 mg (500 capsules). Give 250 to 500 mg id for urinary, middle ear, and lower respiratory infection. This is a broader spectrum penicillin. Staphylococci are usually resistant.

Ampicillin or amoxicillin for oral suspension 250 mg/tsp (60 doses). The suspension is for children who cannot swallow amoxicillin capsules. Give 1/2 to 1 tsp qid, depending on the size of the child.

Erythromycin ethylsuccinate 400 mg (500 tablets). Give two tablets bid for pneumonia or Streptococcal sore throat. The drug is also of some benefit in Staphylococcal skin infections.

Tetracycline 250 mg (1000 capsules). Give 250-500 mg qid for plague and various other insect-born infections; urinary infections; bronchitis; infected animal bites; some venereal diseases; Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Avoid this class of drug in pregnant women and young children, if possible.

A more expensive drug in this class is doxycycline 100 mg, which is given once daily (twice for severe infections). Doxycycline has fewer gastrointestinal side effects and is better absorbed than tetracycline with food in the stomach, but is more likely to sensitize the skin to sunlight.

Oxytetracycline for intramuscular injection (250 cc, 200 mg/cc). The dose is about 500 mg bid for severe, life-threatening infections, or 100 mg tid for mild infections, in which case oral treatment is probably preferable. The injectable form may be necessary in patients too ill to take oral medications or for illnesses like plague or anthrax which may be fatal before oral medication is absorbed. Intramuscular injection causes pain; a local anesthetic may be given simultaneously.

Metronidazole (Flagyl) 250 mg (500 tablets). The usual dose is 500 mg tid, higher for some infections (e.g. amebiasis). The drug is effective against certain protozoans including amoebae and Giardia, and for anaerobic bacteria such as those that normally inhabit the bowel and the female genital tract. It can be extremely useful in intraabdominal, pelvic, and wound infections caused by such bacteria.

Chloramphenicol. The dose is 500 gm qid for anaerobic infections; typhoid and other Salmonella infections; psittacosis; rickettsial infections; or meningitis due to Hemophilus or Meningococcus. This drug is very well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and penetrates well into the cerebrospinal fluid (hence its value in meningitis). However, it causes fatal aplastic anemia in about 1 in 50,000 persons treated with it, and some drug companies have stopped manufacturing it.

Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole DS (Bactrim, Septra) (500 tablets). Give one double strength (DS) tablet bid for urinary infections and some types of bacterial diarrhea, or as a back-up drug for sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infections (for resistant organisms or allergic patients).

Others: Some excellent broader-spectrum drugs, especially amicillin with clavulanic acid (Augmentin), cefuroxime (Ceftin), and ciprofloxacin are not included solely because of expense.

Allergic reactions and Asthma

Adrenalin (epinephrine) for injection (30 cc vial). Give 0.1 to 0.5 cc of a 1:1000 solution subcutaneously for acute anaphylaxis from a drug or other allergy such as bee sting, or for a severe asthma attack.

Prednisone 5 mg (1000 tablets). The dosage is variable, usually starting with 40 to 60 mg, tapering as rapidly as possible. Prednisone is used for severe cases of asthma, poison ivy, sunburn, and allergic reactions, but is not a substitute for epinephrine because the response is not sufficiently rapid. Use with great caution because steroids depress the immune response, among other side effects; however, the drug can be life-saving.

Theophylline preparation (Theodrine 1000 tablets). Give 100-3100 mg tid or qid, for asthma. Combinations with ephedrine (such as Theodrine), while out of favor these days, may be much cheaper. Theophylline is being used much less often. Tea contains a little theophylline.

Alupent inhaler. In asthma or acute allergic reaction with wheezing, this has a more rapid action than theophylline.

Nausea and Vomiting

Prochlorperazine (Compazine) 25 mg (100 tablets). Often used for nausea and vomiting, this drug also may be of some value in acute psychosis. One consultant recommended promethazine (Phenergan) 50 mg instead (1000 tablets). Phenergan does not have the additional indication for therapy of psychotic disorders.

Psychologic distress

Phenobarbitol 60 mg (300 tablets). 30-60 mg is useful as a sedative. The usual anticonvulsant dose is 90 mg daily. CAUTION: Barbiturate addiction is very dangerous; fatal withdrawal reactions have occurred.

Haldol (15 cc vial, 2 mg/cc). Start with 1 mg intramuscularly for otherwise unmanageable acute psychotic reactions. Monitor the blood pressure.


Xylocaine 1 or 2% (two 50-cc vials) [$6.50]. For local anesthesia.

Acetaminophen with codeine 60 mg (1000 tablets equivalent to Tylenol #4). Codeine is both cheaper and more effective for pain relief in combination with acetaminophen or aspirin). It also relieves severe cough.

Proparicaine ophthalmic solution 0.5% (2cc). 1 to 2 drops will anesthetize the cornea of a patient with a foreign body in his eye. Use only once to enable you to remove the foreign body. Continued use may allow severe damage to the eye to occur without the patient's awareness.

Nalbuphine hydrochloride (Nubain) (two 10-cc vials, 20 mg/cc). 10 mg intramuscularly, or more, relieves severe pain. This drug is considered to have less potential for abuse than morphine because it is also a narcotic antagonist (that is, it will cause acute withdrawal in an addict).

Heart and Blood Pressure

Hydrochlorthiazide 50 mg (1000 tablets). One tablet daily helps to control, high blood pressure or congestive heart failure.

Nitroglycerin 11150 gr (200 tablets). One under the tongue as needed relieves angina (heart pain).

Lanoxin (digoxin) 0.25 mg (100 tablets). Use under physician's advice for certain cardiac conditions such as congestive heart failure or atrial fibrillation with rapid heart rate. The usual maintenance dose is one tablet per day or 1/2 tablet in the elderly.

Atropine 0.5 mg/cc (30 cc). Because it speeds the heart rate, this drug is useful in some heart attack victims if they have a profound decrease in pulse. More importantly, it is an antidote to many poisons (such as organophosphate insecticides, some poisonous mushrooms, and chemical warfare agents such as tabun and sarin).


A year's supply of any prescription drug needed by a family member. Rotate each year. This is especially important for drugs with a short shelf life, such as insulin. Insulin lasts about six months at room temperature, but for only two to six weeks at 80 degrees F.)

Immunizations, especially tetanus, should always be kept current. (Tetanus toxoid should be given every ten years. For dirty wounds, a booster may be given if the last dose was more than five years prior to the injury.)

Oral Fluid Replacement

Slightly rounded teaspoon of salt in one qt of water (the equivalent of half-normal, i.e. 0.45%, saline). Have victim drink 4 to 8 quarts in first 8 hours (sipping slowly), 4 to 8 qts in the next 16 hours, then as dictated by thirst.

Cholera or other severe diarrheal illness

To one qt: of water add scant tsp Lite-Salt (a mixture of sodium and potassium chloride); 10 tsp, sugar; 1/3 tsp sodium bicarbonate. (The Russians use activated charcoal to absorb toxins.)