What disease or disorder the drug is used to treat
Known adverse drug reactions and interactions
Warnings and cautions about the use of the drug
The chemical name is usually not printed on the drug label, but should be included in the package insert.
The generic name is identified by the abbreviation USP after the drug name on a drug label.
This is the name that the manufacturer applies to the drug.
The selected name is proprietary and can be used only by the company that owns the trademark.
A trademarked name will be signified by the symbol ®, which means the name is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office
The strength, dosage, form, and formulation of the drug
The pharmacological class of the drug
The package size of the drug, which identifies the size and type of package
It is a member of the Macrolide class of antibiotics
There are 60 film-coated tablets in each bottle
If a medication is found to be contaminated, the lot number provides a trail by which the drug maker can examine the manufacturing process for errors.
The expiration date is the date by which the manufacturer guarantees that the medication will be chemically stable and its potency and safety maintained.
Medications that have passed this date have expired and should be returned to the facility’s pharmacy for disposal.
Some drugs must be stored in carefully controlled environments to maintain their potency and efficacy.
Information about potentially harmful side effects, use during pregnancy and lactation, or other points deemed important by the manufacturer.
The insert contains information about the medication in far more detail than the sticker label.
If the package insert is not available, most nursing units have drug reference material readily available in book or electronic form.
Dosage and administration
Dosage forms and strengths
Contraindications (known hazards)
Warnings and precautions
Adverse reactions (clinical studies and post-marketing experiences)
Drug and food interactions
Use in specific populations (use in pregnancy/lactation, use with pediatric and geriatric patients, and use in patients with kidney or liver problems)
How to treat an overdose
Description of the drug
Clinical pharmacology (mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics)
Clinical studies findings
How the drug is supplied
Storage and handling instructions
Patient counseling information (teaching points)
Capsules: medication is contained within hard or soft shells. May be immediately acting or of the delayed or extended-release variety.
Granules: Small particles of medication that are dissolved in liquid before dispensing.
Coated: coating protects the tablet from the environment, masks an unpleasant taste, or prevents the tablet from being dissolved in the stomach.
Effervescent: releases carbon dioxide gas when tablet is dissolved in water.
Delayed release tablets release the drug at a time after swallowing.
Extended release tablets release the drug over an extended amount of time.
Orally disintegrating: dissolves rapidly in the mouth
Soluble: dissolves in liquid
Troche: flavored disks that are placed in the mouth and meant to dissolve slowly
Lozenge: medication is combined with a sweetened, flavored base. Meant to dissolve slowly in the mouth
Suspensions: solutions that contain undissolved, solid particles
Emulsions: liquids that are suspended in another liquid in droplet form
Elixirs: clear solutions that have been flavored or sweetened
Syrups: contain high amounts of sugar
If the medication comes with its own delivery device, the device should be used as it has been calibrated to deliver the correct amount of medication.
The cup holds up to 30 mL of liquid and is calibrated in 5 mL markings.
To use the cup, place it on a level surface. With the cup at eye level, pour the liquid into the cup until the medication is level with the desired dose marking.
The cup may also contain calibrations for fluid ounces and the obsolete apothecary measure of drams, so take care not to confuse the dosage markings when pouring medications.
The tip of the syringe does not fit adapters and devices made for hypodermic syringes.
This prevents medications meant for oral administration from being administered intravenously or injected into tissues.
Oral syringes have offset, non-luer-lock tips or orange-colored barrels.
They may also include household measures (such as teaspoon), as well as metric measures.
The size dropper selected should be appropriate to the amount of medication to be given.
Even so, obtaining exact measurements can be difficult, depending on the pressure on the dropper’s bulb.
Used to administer liquids that do not require precise measurements.
The spoon is used more in the home environment rather than hospitals.
In general, tablets are given whole or in halves if the tablet is scored.
Tablets that are not pre-scored should not be divided.
Subcutaneous tissue (subcutaneous or subcut)
Muscles (intramuscular or IM)
Vein (intravenous or IV)
Has a hub at one end and a flange at the other end.
The hub of the syringe is either a slip-tip or luer-lock design.
Needles attached to a slip-tip hub can be easily removed (or slipped) from the syringe by pulling the two pieces apart.
Luer-lock hubs are threaded to allow needles and other devices to be connected securely to the syringe.
The barrel’s flange provides counter pressure for the plunger when injecting medication.
Range in length from 1/4 inch to 4 inches.
Intradermal and subcutaneous injections require short needles.
Intramuscular injections use longer needles (1 inch to 3 inches depending upon the size of the person)
Range in gauge (diameter of needle) from fine (31 gauge) to large (14 gauge).
This needle has an orange safety cap to protect against needlesticks.
The tip of the plunger is usually made of a black rubber-like material and has two rings that make contact with the interior walls of the barrel.
The ring closest to the medication is where the dose is read.
The flange at the end of the plunger allows the nurse to manipulate the plunger without touching the sterile portion.
1-mL, 3-mL, 5 or 6-mL, 10 or 12-mL, 20 or 30-mL, and 60-mL.
The 1-mL syringe.
Also known as a tuberculin syringe as it is used to administer the tuberculosis (TB) skin test.
It is calibrated in increments of 0.01 mL between the short lines, and 0.1 mL between the dark, longer lines.
The medium-size lines in between the longer markings indicate 0.05 mL.
Besides being used for the TB skin test, the 1-mL syringe is useful for administering very small, precise amounts of medication.
Designed to be used with insulin only
Insulin syringes come in varying sizes, from 30 units to 100 units and typically come with the needle permanently attached to the syringe.