What Drugs Do Paramedics Use for Trauma?

In cases that involve trauma, paramedics typically administer drugs or fluids that can help alleviate pain–at least until the patient is transported to a medical facility that can better treat symptoms. Among these medications include analgesics, electrolytes, anxiolytics, blood or tranexamic acid, anti-nausea medicines, intravenous (IV) fluids, oxygen, and bronchodilators.

To become a paramedic, you must pass the National Registry of Emergency Technicians (NREMT) exam, which includes paramedic medications that check your knowledge of common drugs and fluids used during emergencies. Luckily, our Video Vault includes more than fifty medication breakdowns, so you can learn every single emergency medical services (EMS) medication and get answers to questions like, “What drugs do paramedics use for asthma attacks?”

Common Cases of Trauma Emergencies

Paramedics respond to a wide range of trauma emergencies, such as:

Road or Traffic Accidents

Road traffic crashes make up a large number of admitted trauma cases, with passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians being the usual victims. In these events, patients usually suffer the following:

  • Soft tissue injury
  • Fracture
  • Contusion
  • Laceration
  • Head, spine, or internal injuries
  • Abrasions, or burns
  • Dislocation

Falls

Fall victims include those who slip on even surfaces or those who fall from high heights. These patients may suffer from fractures, dislocations, lacerations, or head/spinal injuries.

Blunt Trauma

Blunt trauma involves injury in the body by forceful impact, falls, or physical attack from a dull object. These include assaults and contact collisions (such as those seen in sports).

Stabs and Cuts

Stabs and cuts cause penetrating trauma and involve objects or surfaces piercing the skin to cause a laceration or open wound.

Burns

Burn injuries may be caused by chemical or electrical sources, friction, heat, radiation, or even cold–but most are secondary to exposure to hot liquids or solids and fire.

Bites

Bite emergencies usually stem from altercations with animals.

Drugs Used for Trauma

To respond to trauma emergencies, paramedics carry a variety of drugs and fluids that can help ease pain, alleviate symptoms, and delay complications until the patient is transported to a specialist or medical facility. Here’s a list of medications paramedics often use for trauma:

Analgesic

Ketamine, fentanyl, and morphine are common analgesic agents used to relieve pain or sedate patients. They act quickly and have a strong analgesic effect. These may be administered through the muscles, intravenously (IV), or be given as oral narcotics.

Electrolytes and Intravenous Fluids

In many cases of trauma, patients suffer from dehydration or hypotension. To combat these, paramedics provide electrolytes to victims. Why do paramedics use normal saline? Normal saline or lactated ringer solution is helpful as an electrolyte agent in maintaining blood pressure, regulating fluids in the body, and assisting in nerve transmissions.

IV fluids are also essential in preventing or treating dehydration.

Anxiolytics

Anxiolytics treat symptoms of anxiety, which may be experienced by trauma victims. 

Blood or Tranexamic Acid

Blood or tranexamic acid may have a pre-hospital role that could help victims who have lost blood due to their trauma incident.

Anti-Nausea Medications

Nausea and vomiting are usual symptoms of trauma victims due to stress from the experience. Paramedics may administer antiemetic or anti-nausea to help reduce these issues.

Bronchodilators

Bronchodilators are medications that make breathing easier by relaxing the muscles in the lungs and widening the airways. When responding to incidents in which dust can exacerbate lung conditions (such as in chemical incidents or building collapses), these are important to have.

Improve Your Pharmacology Knowledge with Our Video Vault

Having adequate knowledge of pharmacology is essential to become a paramedic. Remembering all the drugs involved might seem daunting, but the task becomes easier with a resource like The Paramedic Coach’s Video Vault. Through understandable lessons, digestible study materials, and a supportive community, we can help you pass your NREMT exam and be a great paramedic!

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