Drugs for medical emergencies

The current recommended drugs for medical emergencies are:

  • Adrenaline, 1-ml ampoules or prefilled syringes of 0.5 ml of 1:1000 solution for intramuscular (i.m.) injection§
  • Aspirin, 300 mg dispersible tablets
  • Glucagon, for i.m. injection of 1 mg
  • Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) spray, 400 micrograms per metered dose
  • Midazolam oromucosal solution, 5 mg/ml, for topical buccal administration*
  • Oral glucose (there are several alternative forms, including non-diet fizzy drinks, glucose gel, powdered glucose and sugar lumps)
  • Oxygen cylinder, two size D or two size CD or one size E
  • Salbutamol inhaler, 100 micrograms per actuation

In addition, dental practices might wish to stock the following to aid the management of patients with mild allergic reactions:

  • Cetirizine, 10 mg tablets or oral solution (5 mg/5 ml)
  • Chlorphenamine, 4 mg tablets or oral solution (2 mg/5 ml)
  • Loratadine, 10 mg tablets

Where a patient requires transfer to hospital, ensure that you provide full and complete handover notes with details of any treatment carried out and/or drugs administered.

§Note that pre-filled syringes are convenient in an emergency situation due to their ease of use but those provided for patient use (e.g. EpiPen® etc.) may contain less adrenaline than recommended for the management of medical emergencies.

*Midazolam oromucosal solution is available as pre-filled oral syringes; several sizes are available to allow for exact dosing for different age groups. Midazolam oromucosal solution is not licensed for use in children <3 months or in adults >18 years