A List of Must-Have Life-Saving Medications That Could Save Your Life

The extension of human life expectancy has been made possible by advances in the pharmaceutical industry. Minor fevers and aches happen every other day, and the good thing is that they can be treated at home.

medicine cabinet

Medicine Cabinet Credit: Jarda

Just imagine if we had to visit the doctor every hour! That would be very cumbersome. Thus it is important to have some drugs in your medicine cabinet that can be accessed quickly, so you won’t have to go frequently to the pharmacy or the hospital. This concept is even more relevant when there is an emergency.

List of life-saving medications you should have at home


Epinephrine also known as adrenaline, is a hormone that is naturally produced by the adrenal glands in the body. It works by widening the airways and raising blood pressure. It can be used as an emergency drug to relieve life-threatening hypersensitivity reactions due to drugs, food, or insect bites. It can also be used in cases of very low blood pressure. Epinephrine comes as an automatic injection that is applied under the skin or into the muscle, a popular brand is EpiPen. The device contains a solution of 0.3mg of epinephrine. One dose might not be enough to stop a reaction, at least two should be stored in your medicine cabinet.


Glucagon is a natural hormone also produced by the body. It is an emergency drug that can raise blood glucose in hypoglycemic people. It works by making the liver release glucose. It comes in powder and liquid forms. The powder form is mixed with a provided liquid and administered under the skin, into the muscle, or the blood. The liquid form is given via an auto-injector device. They all contain 0.1mg of glucagon. Once given, the person’s blood sugar should rise after 15 minutes. However, if it doesn’t rise in 15 minutes, call 911.

Glyceryl trinitrate

Glyceryl trinitrate also known as nitroglycerin is used to relieve intense chest pain or angina in people that have cardiovascular disease or heart attack. It works by relaxing the walls of blood vessels making enough room for blood to flow freely. It works effectively when used within a few minutes of the onset of pain. It comes in a pill of 2.5mg or 6.5mg. The administered dose should not exceed 6.5mg.

Naloxone hydrochloride

Naloxone is an emergency drug that is used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose. An overdose of opioids like morphine causes breathing to cease and naloxone can reverse this in 2 to 5 minutes when administered promptly. Medically, it is compulsorily given to patients who use opioids as part of their drug regimen. It comes as an injection and a nasal spray. The onset of action is faster when injected. The initial dose is 0.4mg and a maximum of 2mg.

Salbutamol inhaler

Salbutamol is a medication that helps relieve symptoms of acute asthmatic attacks. It works by expanding the airway leading to more air inhalation. It comes in an inhaler that can easily be puffed. Sometimes it can be administered as tablets but the fastest way for it to work is through inhalation. A puff consists of 180 mcg of salbutamol. Most of the time, one or two puffs are sufficient enough. However, if you use your inhaler more than four times a day, then you need to see your doctor.


Steroids are anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat a wide range of inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), severe allergic reactions, and even severe asthmatic attacks. They’re available as tablets, sprays, injections, eye drops, and creams. Dosages vary for different conditions.


These are very important medications, as they suffice for midnight heartburns and indigestion. Examples are aluminum hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, aluminum trisilicate, and magnesium trisilicate. They function by neutralizing stomach acids. If symptoms persist, contact your doctor. It could be something more serious.


Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine and it is very important for people who suffer from periodic allergic reactions. Antihistamines work by limiting the effects of histamine. Histamine release can be triggered by some particular foods, dust, or pollen. The dosage for diphenhydramine is 25mg, not exceeding 300mg per day, and 12.5mg in children not to exceed 150mg per day. Antihistamines cause drowsiness, so make sure you’re at home and not operating machinery.

Points to note

Before swallowing or applying any medication, it is important to check the packet for the expiration date and other key information like dosage and possible side or adverse effects. Always stick to the recommended dosage.

Also, keep all medications out of the reach of children. Contact your doctor if you have pre-existing conditions. Ultimately, if you are not sure about anything, consult your doctor.


Being prepared for medical emergencies is key to living a productive life. Having an adequate supply of the basic essential drugs can suffice in life-threatening situations. If any symptoms persist, do well to contact your doctor.



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