Top 20 NCLEX Meds: What You Need To Know To Pass
Getting ready to take the NCLEX? What most NCLEX test takers find complicated during the exam are the set of Pharmacology questions. In NCLEX, 13-19 percent of questions are taken from pharmacological and parenteral therapies. This does not mean that you have to memorize all the brand names and specifics of each drug on the market because in the real world, no one has. But with the right test-taking strategies, reviewing NCLEX study questions, and reviewing useful tips given by NCLEX Preceptor, you’re sure to answer confidently and pass the exam on the first try. To help you with this, we have compiled the top 20 drug classifications that you may commonly find on the NCLEX exam. You can review all of these medications using the mobile app called NCLEX Preceptor found on Google Play and iTunes.
NCLEX Practice Questions and Medication List
- 1. ACE Inhibitors – with heart diseases being the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States, you’re sure to find questions about antihypertensive medications and ACE Inhibitors are one of them. An easy tip you can remember is that most ACE inhibitors end with the suffix ‘-pril’
- 2. Alpha Blockers – another antihypertensive medication, a common side effect of this drug classification is orthostatic hypotension. In taking the NCLEX examination, you must remember that a client taking antihypertensives should assume gradual changes in position especially before getting out of bed to avoid that common side effect.
- 3. Antianginals – let’s not forget the drug of choice for angina that produces a vasodilating effect on the peripheral veins and arteries. Its sublingual form is intended to relieve chest pains caused by angina and may be taken every 5 minutes for up to a maximum of 3 doses.
- 4. Antidysrhythmics – still on the cardiovascular system, this drug classification is indicated for ventricular dysrhythmias, ventricular fibrillation, atrial flutter and bradycardias or PVC’s related to slow heart rate. Remember that these medications are never given rapidly via the intravenous route.
- 5. Antifungals – these medications, which often end with the suffix ‘-azole’ must be noted that the client’s liver function should be monitored for hepatotoxicity, which is a known adverse effect of this medication.
- 6. Antibiotics – used in the treatment of infection, this classification has a wide range of spectrums specific to different types of bacteria. Here is a question you might encounter in this classification:
A 10-year-old child with a diagnosis of sepsis is being treated with Amikacin, which of the following statements by the child should alert the nurse to discontinue the medication and inform the physician?
- a. “I can feel a little bit of headache”
- b. “I can feel some pain on my injection site”
- c. “I am hungry and would like some cheeseburger”
- d. “I can hear a buzzing sound that does not go away
Answer: d. By looking at the question and using the process of elimination, option c would be the odd one out and option b is a common sensation felt when being administered with antibiotics. By weighing the two remaining options and using the tips you have learned from the ebook NCLEX Meds for Nurses: The Fastest Way to Pass NCLEX Pharmacology by NCLEXPreceptor, you would know why this answer is the correct one.
- 7. Anticoagulants – another common NCLEX pharmacology classification being asked comes from the ones that inactivate the synthesis of the clotting factors. You will find in the ebook up-to-date nursing considerations you must remember when administering these drugs.
- 8. Antidepressants – not only does this drug treat depression, it is also used in clients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, and enuresis in children.
- 9. Antihistamines – for allergic reactions, note that these medications would make clients feel drowsy so keep in mind that any activity that requires mental awareness must be prohibited.
- 10. Beta Blockers – because we can’t get enough of cardiac mediations, one useful tip is that drugs coming from these classification often ends with the suffix’-lol’. Here’s a quick question in this classification:
A client is prescribed with Atenolol (Tenormin). The nurse determines that the client needs further teaching when the client states the need to:
- a. Report shortness of breath to the physician
- b. Change positions slowly
- c. Monitor blood pressure regularly
- d. Taper or discontinue the medication when the client feels well
Answer: d. Betablockers should never be tapered down or discontinued without the advice of a physician for it causes rebound hypertension. Changing positions slowly, monitoring blood pressure regularly and reporting shortness of breath to the physician are correct instructions clients must remember in taking beta blockers.
- 11. Calcium Channel Blockers – did you know that a drink can increase a hypertensive drug’s level in the blood? Find out what it is in the ebook NCLEX Meds for Nurses: The Fastest Way to Pass NCLEX Pharmacology by NCLEXPreceptor.
- 12. Diuretics – noticed how Furosemide always appears in question trainers? It also does in the NCLEX exam and one important thing you must know in giving this drug is that it rids the body of Sodium so you know which laboratory exam to monitor.
- 13. Insulin – with more and more clients being diagnosed with diabetes, Insulin and its administration is a sure item to come up on the exam. Note that that if regular insulin should be mixed with a long acting insulin – the regular or clear insulin should be drawn up first before the long-acting one, and that regular insulin is the only type that can be administered through IV route.
Download the mobile app NCLEX Preceptor to study NCLEX questions and NCLEX tips.
- 14. OHA’s – also expect to see these drugs on the exam together with the drugs they interact with such as calcium channel blockers, oral contraceptives, glucocorticoics, phenothiazines and thiazide diuretics.
- 15. NSAID’s- most commonly used worldwide, it should not be taken by children with flu symptoms because of the risk of Rye’s syndrome. Questions about this can be presented like:
Which of the following statements made by the mother suspects the child of having Reye’s syndrome?
- a. “I can’t get him to go to the hospital since he had the flu, I had been giving him Aspirin but he became more difficult to deal with”
- b. “He has had an increased appetite ever since he had the flu”
- c. “He seems constipated these days after I have been giving him Acetaminophen”
- d. “I have been prohibiting him to play with his playmates ever since he had the flu”
Answer: a. Using the tip given and by examining the statement carefully, this would lead you to correctly answer option a. Using the process of elimination, options b and d are unremarkable statements while constipation on option c is an expected side effect.
- 16. Opiods – nurses need to be knowledgeable in giving these medications because over dosage can lead to paralytic ileus, respiratory depression, coma, and even death.
- 17. Proton Pump Inhibitors – used for suppressing gastric acid secretion, you would easily recognize drugs from this classification for they end with the suffix ‘-prazole’.
- 18. Thrombolytics – treats acute MI, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and central venous clearance it is a complex medication that should be administered with extreme caution. Try to answer this sample NCLEX question:
A nurse with a client who had just received therapy with tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA, Activase) should have which item readily available?
- a. Thermometer
- b. Guided airway
- c. Occult blood-test strips
- d. Blood glucose strips
Answer: c. All secretions should be monitored for occult blood in clients receiving thrombolytics because of the risk of bleeding. A thermometer is also important to note for fever but option c should be prioritized. Guided airways and blood glucose strips are not required during infusion of this drug.
- 19. Vasopressors – administered on clients who have had anaphylactic shock, cardiac arrest and even asthma, you should know that infusion should be stopped immediately when extravasation occurs and area should be infused with alpha-adrenergic antagonist Phentolamine (Regitine).
- 20. Herbal Medicines – even alternative medicines need to be familiarized by nurses because they are being used by many clients and can cause interactions with other medications. Find out the different types of herbal medicines, their indications and side effects on the ebook NCLEX Meds for Nurses: The Fastest Way to Pass NCLEX Pharmacology by NCLEX Preceptor.
Understanding pharmacology is easy if you focus on their intended effect and nursing considerations when administering medications to a client. Learn over 28 drug classifications and review practice NCLEX study questions by downloading the mobile app NCLEX Preceptor. Now available on Google Play and iTunes.