Atropine Study Guide
NCLEX is not an easy exam, yet you can pass it with flying colors. More than just browsing through the major topics such as Medical and Surgical nursing, you need to be well-versed with the commonly-used medications in hospitals, hospices and healthcare centers.
One such example is Atropine Sulfate, a parasympatholytic agent. Also an anti-cholinergic and an anti-muscarinic medication, it is a medication that you might encounter in your forthcoming NCLEX exam.
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Indications for Use
Atropine is a multi-faceted drug known by the brands Atropisol and Isopto Atropine. Apart from the aforementioned uses, this Belladonna Alkaloid is also used as an antidote, an anti-parkinsonian, and a diagnostic agent.
Because of its numerous purposes, Atropine is prescribed for a variety of disorders. It is utilized in the treatment of Parkinson’s-related rigidity and tremor, closed head disorders, pylorospasm, colon hypermotility, biliary spasm, ureteral colic, bronchospasm, urinary tract disorders and peptic ulcer, to name a few.
As an antidote, Atropine is used to reverse mushroom poisoning and cardiovascular collapse secondary to parasympathomimetic drug overdose.
Before giving Tegretol, the nurse should take the patient’s complete history. You should determine the presence of hypersensitivity, glaucoma, gastrointestinal disorders, arrhythmia, COPD, bronchial asthma, myasthenia gravis, brain damage, hypertension and hypothyroidism, among many others.
For physical assessment, you should check the patient’s vital signs, as well as lung sounds, urinary output and bowel sounds. Make sure to assess the client’s affect, orientation, reflexes, skin color/lesions and bilateral hand grip strength as well.
As for lab exams, the nurse should periodically check the results of the patient’s liver/kidney function tests and ECG.
NCLEX Nursing Interventions
Hyperpyrexia can occur with Atropine therapy. As a nurse, it is your responsibility to provide temperature control to circumvent this. Ensuring adequate hydration can also curb the onset of hyperpyrexia.
Urinary retention usually occurs with Atropine, therefore advise the patient to empty his bladder prior to the provision of the drug.
Important NCLEX Teaching Points
As a nurse, make sure to teach your client about what he can expect with regards to taking Atropine. For example, you should advise him to take the medication 30 minutes prior to a meal, in order to avoid overdosage.
As it has been established, hyperpyrexia can occur with Atropine. As such, remind your client to avoid hot environments as the drug might cause heat intolerance.
Educate your patient with the usual side effects of Atropine, which are confusion, dizziness, constipation, blurred vision, dry mouth, light sensitivity, urination difficulties and impotence (reversible.)
Most importantly, teach your client about warning signs – the presence of any should warrant immediate notification. These symptoms are hallucinations, abdominal distention, coordination loss, tremors, irregular heartbeat, eye pain, flushing, rashes, headache and swallowing/urinating difficulties.
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