Essential Prepper Medications

Posted: December 4, 2014 in Medicine
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Your family emergency preparedness plan should include medications.  Some of these may be life saving.  Some of them may be quality of life saving.  Having a good stock of medications on hand is prudent.  These are all very shelf stable.  Keep them in a cool, dry and dark place.  Disregard the expiration dates.  These are arbitrary made up numbers based of nothing at all.  No science whatsoever goes into these seemingly important dates.  The government, in its infinite wisdom mandates that these be on there.  The companies comply because they have to.  It is also great for the companies because you then keep buying the same things over and over.  The government has a study (they try to keep it quite) that looks at the efficacy of medications decades later.  They test the drugs they stockpile for the military.  Guess what?  Nearly everything they tested was totally fine decades later.  They found that Tylenol lost of bit of its potency but none of the meds were dangerous or anything.  So be educated and warned.  Don’t toss those “expired” (big, huge, exaggerated, air quotes!) meds!

  1. Acetaminophen – Generic for Tylenol.  Good all around pain-killer safe for just about anyone.  Can cause liver toxicity, stay under 3000-4000 mg/day.
  2. Ibuprofen – Generic for Advil.  Great pain-killer.  More powerful pain-killer than Tylenol.  600-800mg dose is anti-inflammatory.  Can be taken with Tylenol for added pain control if stronger meds are not available.  Can cause kidney toxicity.  Stay under 2400 mg/day.
  3. Aspirin – Generic for Bayer Aspirin.  Often overlooked pain-killer.  Don’t take with other NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen (Aleve), etc)).  Inhibits platelet function = blood thinner.  Good if suspected heart attack or stroke.
  4. Diphenhydramine – generic for Benadryl.  Anti-histamine (allergies), sleep aid, anti-nausea med.  Makes most people pretty drowsy.  Give to someone if they are having an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis.
  5. Cetirizine – generic for Zyrtec.  Non-drowsy allergy med.  Great if you need to be active and working (no Benadryl here).  May make some people a bit drowsy.  Can’t take with the above – same class of drugs.
  6. Ranitidine – generic for Zantac.  Different type of anti-histamine for reflux and heartburn.  Typical OTC dose is 75mg which is pretty weak.  150mg is “maximum strength”, you can take 300mg if needed (doctor directed if available).  Can also give this in anaphylaxis in addition to Benadryl.
  7. Bacitracin – antibiotic ointment.  I like this better than triple antibiotic (Neosporin).  Can still cause skin sensitization but less so than neosporin.
  8. Clotrimazole – generic for Lotrimin.  Antifungal, great for ringworm, jock itch, athletes foot and vaginal yeast infections.
  9. Hydrocortisone – 1% is the strongest OTC you can get.  Good for eczema, rashes, bug bites.
  10. Loperamide – generic for Imodium.  Anti-diarrheal.  If things get bad sanitation is going to be a big problem.  Diarrhea is going to be rampant.  This may be a life saver.
  11. Caffeine – in general I don’t like caffiene and think it is vastly overused.  BUT if you are pulling guard duty or driving your pimped-out bug out vehicle and have to stay awake and alert this may be helpful.  Use sparingly and try to avoid in general.
  12. Meclizine – generic for Bonine.  It is an anti-motion sickness medication.  It works as an anti-nausea medication.  If some one is profusely vomiting dehydration is an issue.  This may help.  SImilar concept to diarrhea.  Benadryl will work as well if you don’t have this.
  13. Potassium Iodine – these tablets are often called radiation pills.  I want to dispel a myth here.  These pills help protect your thyroid (which is very sensitive to radiation).  It does nothing to protect anything else.  It may help a little from getting thyroid cancer from radiation exposure years down the road.  They are good to have but as you can see somewhat limited in their scope.
  14. Docusate – generic for Colace.  Stool softener.  This and senosides or Senna are both safe meds for constipation.  Other constipation meds need a bit more expertise.
  15. Antibiotics – I list these for information.  I think they are a great, awesome, and a wonderful thing to have saved up.  They will literally save lives.  The problem is they are somewhat complicated to use.  You need specific antibiotics to treat specific things.  You need specific, weight based doses.  They can be toxic and are down right dangerous in the wrong hands.  If you stock these get advise from a doctor.  If you stock these you need a doctor to tell you how to use them.  These are not OTC as you know (in the U.S. at least).  You can buy these online as fish antibiotics.  They are a little known prepper secret.  (Less so nowadays with the internet).  They are the exact same drugs from the same manufacturers intended for fish so you can buy them.  My go to source is Fishmoxfishflex.  I will write a separate post on this because the demand exists.  Please, please heed what I said above.  Fish Mox Forte is amoxicilin (500mg) and Fish Mox Flex is cephalexin (500mg).  Both are all around good drugs.  You can’t give these to someone with a penicillin allergy.  Again, you have to know what you are doing.  But if you must stock something these are both good choices.

I think the first 10 items are the most important.  I would start there.  Please feel free to ask questions.  As always have good written instructions for everything stored with your medications.  Get some education about how and when to use these things now before you need it.

Buy them in bulk from Costco or Sam’s.  Most drug stores are an unbelievable rip off.  You can find a lot of them on amazon from Costco.  Get the rest at Walmart or the like for the best prices.  Lastly, check your local drug store.

  1. Ryno says:

    Excellent information. Keep it coming…

    What would be your plan to stockpile persistent medications (ie diabetes medications)?


    • Preppermann says:

      Really great question. It would be a good idea to have a stock of any regular prescription medications as well. An extra month or two would be a great start. Some conditions can be improved or cured by diet and exercise. If losing weight and eating better gets rid of your type II diabetes then I would encourage you to do that. Some illnesses like kidney failure requiring dialysis are much more problematic. Thinking about it ahead of time and having some sort of plan is better than trying to figure it out after an event. Great questions! Talk with your doctor about wanting to have an extra month or two of meds on hand. They will likely help you. The bigger issue is going to be getting your insurance to pay for it. Most insurances will let you get a 3 month supply though, so that works.


  2. L. SCHUMANN says:

    What about Hashimotos sufferers?


    • Preppermann says:

      I assume you are refering to people with low thyroid (hypothyroid). Hashimotos is one common cause of low thyroid. People with low thyroid should take this into consideration for their preparations. They would be well advised to try and have some extra thyroid medication on hand. 3-4 months would be a great starting point. Great question!


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