Certified nurse-midwives, whose responsibility includes care of the newborn in the first days of life, should be well versed in the commonly used pharmaceutical preparations in the neonatal period. This article reviews therapeutic uses and the pharmacodynamics of vitamin K, as well as the neonatal eye preparations for prophylaxis of infections (silver nitrate, tetracycline, and erythromycin ophthalmic ointments). Preparations used in caring for the umbilical cord, as well as the commonly prescribed antibiotics ampicillin and gentamicin, are discussed. The narcotic antagonist naloxone is also reviewed, along with commonly used medications for colic and thrush. The etiology and clinical conditions that require the application of these medications are considered.
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