Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Acid or Base?

Acid or Base
By: Brandon A.

Have you figured out how to tell the difference if a drug is an acid or base? It can be very tricky trying to determine what type of drug it is (acid/base), especially during a "rushed call," like a cardiac arrest. We will discuss some ways to determine the difference between the two, give some examples of each, and describe how to treat those types of drugs.

Some ways to tell whether a drug is an acid or base is based on their chemical formula, the -suffix, and just common scene. If we choose to determine if the drug is an acid/base based on its chemical formula, than we need to look for hydrogen (H) and hydroxide (OH). For an acid, the chemical formula will start with an H (hydrogen), thus making the compound an acid. For base drugs, the chemical formula will start with OH (hydroxide), thus making the compound a base. Now, if we choose to based off of the -suffix, we look for "-ic," "-ite," or "-ous." These suffixes are for an acid. For bases, we look for the suffix of "-amine," or hydroxide in the name. Still, some common sense for acid/base drugs can be put to good use. For examples, Aspirin is clearly and acid, just like how antacids are bases, and how Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is a base. For Diphenhydramine , this is clearly a base because, for example, a bee and other inset stings, inject toxins, which are acids, into our body, so we give Diphenhydramine to neutralize the toxins. If we are in doubt on whether a drug is an acid/base, we can also rely on google(R). But, make sure you put patient priority first.

Some examples of an acid include Aspirin, Penicillin, Furosemide, and Phenobarbital. Some base drugs include Sodium Bicarbonate, Epinephrine, benzodiazepines, Diphenhydramine, and antacids. Now, we need to know how to treat acid/base drug interactions.

In order to treat acids and bases we need to know what drugs we have in our possession. For acidic drugs, we can give our patient Sodium Bicarbonate. Sodium Bicarb combines with the acidic molecules, which than makes the molecules become neutralized, thus increasing pH. For Sodium Bicarb, we use the dosage of 1 mEq/kg. But, for patients that we suspect have taken to much of a base, there is nothing in our box that we are able to give to our patients. Thus, these patients may require a rapid transport.

Overall, acid and base drugs can be hard to identify. Never withhold care from your patient, but if you do question whether a drug is an acid/base, try having one of your coworkers google(R) the drug to identify it's pH.

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