Pharmacology Pharmacokinetics #2
Which is the correct nursing action when administering a PO medication with a narrow therapeutic range?
- Administer the medication intravenously
This is not the correct answer because the healthcare provider is the only one who can change the route to intravenous, not the nurse. Absorption is greatly increased with IV administration of medications. Intravenous administration would increase the dangers associated with narrow therapeutic medications and are generally not the preferred route, if the PO route is available, unless an emergent situation.
- Assure the patient of minimal side effects
This is not the correct answer because medications with a narrow therapeutic range are considered more dangerous. They generally have drug-related complications and high incidence of adverse effects. These drugs are given with caution and blood levels monitored closely.
- Monitor and report plasma drug levels
This is the correct answer because a narrow therapeutic range means the safe and adequate drug dosage occurs within a narrow range. The more narrow the range, the more monitoring necessary to keep a patient safe. Astute nursing care, including monitoring of blood plasma levels, is imperative.
- Double the interval of time between doses
This is not the correct answer because the interval of dosage is prescribed by the healthcare provider and should not be altered without a new prescription. For the drug to be at the adequate, therapeutic dose to achieve the desired effect, the medication should be given as prescribed. The nurse must monitor blood plasma levels to assure the safe, therapeutic level and report any deviance from the therapeutic level.
A narrow therapeutic range of a medication significantly increases the risks of toxicity and dangerous side effects. Monitoring the patient’s drug levels is imperative to minimize complications associated with the drug therapy.
A narrow therapeutic range means the safe and adequate drug dosage occurs within a narrow range. The more narrow the range, the more monitoring necessary to keep a patient safe. A medication with a narrow therapeutic range has more risks of toxicity due to a risk of more dangerous side effects than medications with wide therapeutic ranges. Drug-related complications and death can occur more often and more quickly with medications with narrow therapeutic ranges.
Test Taking Tip
Remember, assessment is the first thing you do in the nursing process. A term that reflects the action of assessing is “monitor”.