PALS Medications To Study

Every drug you need to know in order to pass your PALS exam.

There are many areas you need to be familiar with in order to pass your Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) exam, but perhaps none require more studying than the medications. This requires knowing more than the names of the drugs that will show up on your exam. You need to know their primary uses, which drug to administer in certain situations, and the dosages of that particular drug. Additionally, there is other information about each drug you need to be familiar with in order to adequately prepare yourself for a given situation.


There are some questions on the exam that you can use practical experience, prior medical knowledge, and a bit of common sense to come up with an answer – which theoretically don’t require as much studying. However, the medications and dosages do not fall under that category. There’s really no way around it, this is a part of the exam that you need to have memorized. Thankfully, we have listed all of them here to help you out. 


PALS Medications To Study | eMedCert


Here is a quick reference sheet that shows you everything you need to know about the medications that will appear on your PALS exam:


Primary Use: 


- Wide QRS Tachycardia


- First Dose: 0.1 mg/kg IV Push (Max: 6 mg.)

- Second Dose: 0.2 mg/kg IV Push (Max: 12 mg.)


- Must be given as a bolus, followed by a flush

- Can cause bronchospasm - use caution in asthmatics

- Flushing/chest tightness are common


Primary Uses:

- Pulseless VT

- Ventricular Fibrillation (V-Fib)

- Recurrent Hemodynamically Unstable Ventricular Tachycardia

- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

- Supraventricular Tachyarrhythmias (SVT)


Pulseless VT / V-Fib: 5 mg/kg bolus (Max Dose: 300 mg)

- VT / SVT: 5 mg/kg over 20-60 minutes (Max Dose: 300 mg) 


- Rapid infusion causes hypotension

- If cumulative dosing exceeds 2.2 grams in 24 hours, significant hypotension can occur. Avoid administration with any drug that may prolong QT interval


Primary Uses:

- Symptomatic Bradycardia


- 0.02 mg/kg IV (Repeat every 3 – 5 minutes 

- Max single dose: 0.5 mg


- Dose less than 0.1 mg may cause Paradoxical Bradycardia

- Max Total Dose: 1 mg (Child) / 3 mg (Adolescent)


Primary Uses:

- Bradycardia

- Hypotension 


- 2 – 20 mcg/kg/min infusion

- Titrated based on clinical response; tapered on/off slowly


- Extravasation causes tissue damage and necrosis

- Use caution if giving high doses through peripheral IV site

- May cause excessive vasoconstriction / tachyarrhythmias

- Adequate volume resuscitation required before initiating dopamine therapy


Primary Uses:

- Cardiac Arrest

- Symptomatic Bradycardia

- Severe Hypotension

- Anaphylaxis / Severe Allergic Reactions 


- 0.01 mg/kg IV/IO (0.1 mL of 1:10,000 solution)

- Repeat every 3 – 5 minutes

- IV fluid Flush following each dose


- Higher doses often needed in cases of beta-blocker or calcium channel blocker overdoses. A continuous infusion may be required

- High dose does not improve survival / neurological outcome

- High dose ceases myocardial dysfunction in post-resuscitation period


Primary Uses:

- Hypoglycemia


- 0.5 – 1 g/kg IV/IO


< 30 Days Old: D10W 5 – 10 mL/kg IV/IO

30 Days – 2 Years Old: D25W 2 – 4 mL/kg IV/IO

- > 2 Years Old: D50W 1 – 2 mL/kg IV/IO


Primary Uses:

- Cardiac Arrest from VT / VF

- Ventricular Tachycardia

- Ventricular Fibrillation 


- 1 mg/kg IV/IO bolus

- Maintenance Infusion: 20 – 50 mcg/kg/min


- Can also be used for stable polymorphic ventricular tachycardia with normal baseline QT AND torsades

- Decrease maintenance doses if left ventricular dysfunction or if impaired liver function

- Not used prophylactically after myocardial infarction 


Primary Uses:

- Torsades de Pointes

- Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium)

- Digitalis Toxicity 


Initial Dose: 25 – 50 mg/kg IV/IO over 15 – 30 minutes, diluted in 10 mg/mL D5W

- Max: 2 g


-  Rapid administration may drop blood pressure

- Very high doses can cause respiratory distress (calcium is antidote)

- Use with caution for patients with renal failure


Primary Uses:

- Opioid Reversal


- 0.01 – 0.1 mg/kg

- Max single dose:2 mg 


Primary Uses:

- Ventricular Arrhythmias

- Supraventricular Arrhythmias (SVT)


Loading Dose: 15 –mg/kg IV/IO. Give over at least 30 minutes


- Serious reactions can occur for ventricular fibrillation, asystole, seizures, decreased platelets, neutrophils (and can result in hemolytic anemia)

- Other common reactions include hypertension, bradycardia, angioedema, flushing and urticaria 

Sodium Bicarbonate

Primary Uses:

- Metabolic Acidosis


- 1 mEq/kg IV/IO (given slowly)

- Max: 50 mEq 


- Ensure adequate ventilation before administering (prevent or correct respiratory acidosis)

- Monitor pH with ABG results

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