Adult Essential VS Non-Essential med guide

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Definition of Essential Medicines for Adults 

The word "essential" is used to describe medicines for which there is a likelihood of harm to the patient if not taken. The triager should use their nursing judgment and critical thinking in deciding whether a medicine is essential.

Here are some examples of medicines that typically would be considered essential:

  • Asthma (e.g., rescue inhalers)
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiac
  • Diabetes (e.g., pills, insulin)
  • Seizure

Here are some examples of medicines that, depending on the clinical circumstances, could be considered essential:

  • Antibiotics (e.g., early in treatment course, still symptomatic)
  • Pain (e.g., severe pain, especially if the pain would otherwise require an ED visit)

All over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are considered non-essential. Here are some other examples of medications that would typically be considered non-essential:

  • Birth control pills
  • Cholesterol and lipid-lowering
  • Constipation
  • Emergency contraception (available OTC)
  • Sleeping pills
  • Topical (e.g., creams, ointments)
  • Vitamins (available OTC)

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