My wife works at a hospital pharmacy so I asked her boss, Jonathan Reynolds, for some suggestions. His list includes almost the same things I take on a backcountry hunt or when I travel to Africa. The following is good, general information, but does not deal with details such as allergies to individuals’ medications and is not thought of as medical advice. Get that from your personal doctor. -BMT
The Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) 750 mg tabs cover several upper respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and, most importantly, numerous insects that cause diarrhea (ie, traveler’s diarrhea). Dehydration of diarrhea would be extremely debilitating in a survival situation. Cipro would also cover anthrax.
It may also cover Yersinia pestis (pneumonic plague) and tularemia. I will note that 750 mg is a high dose and would be excessive for UTI, but you would need the highest dose for the worst infections like anthrax. Bactrim DS (trimethoprim / sulfamethazole) 160/800 mg tabs are another “cover all agent”.
This could cover several pneumonias and UTIs, but it would also cover many types of bite wounds as well as MRSA skin infections, in most cases. Flagyl (Metronidazole) 500 mg tabs cover giardiasis (beaver fever) if collected from any contaminated drinking water.
Meds of pain
Ibuprofen is a good anti-inflammatory agent, in case of developing swelling associated with injuries, and is also useful with the minor daily pains such as headaches. In addition, it is an antipyretic so it would help to break the fever if needed. Oxycodone is a narcotic, so getting an ample supply of 5 mg lashes from a doctor could be difficult.
But oxycodone would provide significant relief of pain from any major injury; However, as a narcotic it may be mildly sedative and could reduce the ability to conscience. Tylenol is cheap and effective against minor pain. It is easy to acquire, like ibuprofen, since it does not require a prescription. It is not great against severe pain, but it would provide adequate relief and break the fevers.
Vomiting / Diarrhea
Note Cipro and Flagyl above for treatment. The symptomatic treatment would be Imodium (loperamide). I would use it with Lomotil (diphenoxylate / atropine) as it has fewer side effects. Manufacturers put atropine on Lomotil so it can not be abused. Therefore, if you are having a good dose of diarrhea and it takes a lot, you will be limited by the side effects of atropine (nausea / vomiting, dry mouth, abdominal pain).
Imodium is also sold at the counter, making it much easier to purchase. With some diarrhea, you do not want to take antidiarrheal medications because the process itself is the removal of toxins from the gastrointestinal tract, so this is a difficult situation. Loperamide would be the best option, I think. A suitable dose would be 4 mg after the first loose stool, then 2 mg after each consecutive stool, up to a maximum of 16 mg / day.
Zofran (ondansetron) 4 mg tablets for vomiting; The generic form is cheap at the pharmacy. It produces very few side effects. You can let these eyelashes dissolve under your tongue if you have too much nausea to swallow. The best bet here.
Topicals (Creams, Ointments)
Triple antibiotic ointment is a cure for all topical infections. Silver sulfadiazine (SSD) topical cream is used for the prevention and treatment of skin / wound infections that result from second- and third-degree burns, and strikes multiple types of bacteria and yeast. He is almost a “protective” agent. Lamisil or Tinactin cream is antifungal for athlete’s foot.
Another option is Lotrisone (betamethasone / clotrimazole), which would cover other fungal infections throughout the skin; Requires a prescription. Hydrocortisone cream 1 percent can be obtained without a prescription. It would help with any skin rash or pruritus (pruritus). Also good for insect / sting bites.
I can not talk about the shelf life of the medicines, especially as to whether they are able to withstand heat, cold or humidity, since they are all packed somewhat differently and carry different expiration dates depending on the manufacturer . Ask for the unit dose, individually packed meds, which would be protected longer. Keep everything in a sealed plastic bag of items.
If you needed to pair down the list above for a short trip, my “essential elements” would be: Cipro, Bactrim, Flagyl, ibuprofen and triple antibiotic, with added SSD cream if there is still room.
-Jonathan Reynolds, PharmD