5 Drugs You Should Be Packing in a Bugout Bag

Updated on

Heaven forbid that you’ll ever have to leave your home in a hurry. But you really just don’t know when a weather catastrophe, terrorist event, or the ultimate doomsday scenario will suddenly be on your doorstep. Having a bugout bag packed with the right drugs could be the difference between life and death.

A bug out bag should contain drugs in these five categories:

  • Prescription medications
  • Pain Relievers: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin
  • Stomach Issues: loperamide, bismuth salicylate, antacids
  • Allergic Reactions: Antihistamines containing diphenhydramine or loratadine
  • Antibiotics

Ready to put together your own bug out bag? Read on to find out what 5 drugs you should include to give yourself the best chance at survival.

5 Medications to Pack in a Bugout Bag

Bug Out bag, Go bag, whatever you call it, the idea is the same. Pack a bag with supplies that will help you and your loved ones survive a disaster. Whether you have to leave your home or shelter in place, knowing your bag is stocked with useful supplies is a comforting thought.

In the event of an emergency, you may be faced with injuries like cuts and scrapes, insect or animal bites, or burns. Contaminated food and water or erratic eating times can result in stomach issues that require attention. You may need an energy boost to get through sleepless nights and stressful days.

That’s when you’ll be glad you took the time to prepare a bug out bag that includes drugs in these 5 categories to help you deal with the issues at hand.

As you build and store your bug out bag is that many of these medications expire after a certain period of time. Set a reminder on your device to periodically check expiration dates and replace out-of-date meds with newer ones.

Prescription Medications

First and foremost, if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or any other serious medical condition that requires you to take prescription meds regularly, it’s imperative that your bug out bag include a sufficient supply.

What is a sufficient supply? Consumer Reports suggests that you should have at least a 7-day supply of these critical drugs available during a bug out emergency. Be sure containers are labeled with the name of the medication and its proper dosage and regimen.

Pain Relievers

It’s a safe bet that, in the frantic rush of an emergency, someone is going to get hurt or be in some kind of pain at some point. Having a variety of pain relievers in your bug out bag is a necessity.

There are four types of pain relief meds you should always include in your bag. These pain relievers are best used for muscle and joint aches and pains, and headaches. All of them can be found as generics as well as the brand names listed here.

Naproxen and Ibuprofen are also known for their work as anti-inflammatory meds. Tylenol is typically taken for headaches.

Allergic Reaction Meds

In an emergency evacuation or survivalist situation, who knows what kind of living conditions, plants, animals, or stinging creatures you may encounter. Anyone can have an allergic reaction to one of these even if you don’t typically have allergies.

Antihistamines are over-the-counter drugs that deal with the effects of an allergic reaction such as watery or itchy eyes, rash, sneezing, coughing, and runny nose. There are two active ingredients used in the antihistamines found on the market today.

Antihistamines are usually taken in tablet form or applied topically with a cream or spray.

Stomach Upset Meds

Our stomachs can be delicate creatures. Take us out of our routine, throw in new or questionable foods and it can wreak havoc on our digestive systems. Stocking your bugout bag with drugs to ease digestive suffering is a must.

Loperamide, commonly known as Imodium or its generic, is used to control diarrhea which is unpleasant at the very least and can lead to dehydration and weakness if left unchecked. In a bug out situation where there may be little access to a toilet, keeping diarrhea in check is key.

Bismuth Subsalicylate is better known as Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate, and it’s also available as a generic. Pepto can be taken for an upset stomach, heartburn, or diarrhea. You can find bismuth subsalicylate in liquid, tablet, and chewable tablet form.

Other stomach meds to have in your bug-out bag are antacids like Tums or Pepsid. Antacids neutralize acid in the stomach reducing heartburn and soothing uncomfortable gassiness.


Topical antibiotic ointments and creams can be used on cuts and scrapes to prevent and treat an infection. Bacitracin, polymyxin, and neomycin reduce the growth of bacteria in a wound while hydrocortisone alleviates swelling and itching. They are readily available over the counter.

Other types of antibiotics are delivered in liquid or tablet form and are usually prescribed for a specific length of time for a specific need. Antibiotics only fight bacterial infection and are not effective against viruses.

It may be difficult to get prescribed antibiotics on a “just in case” basis. If you can get them, consider adding the following antibiotics to your bag:

  • Ciprofloxacin: digestive system infections
  • Amoxicillin: throat, nose, ear, skin, and urinary tract infections
  • Azithromycin: for respiratory, skin, eye, and ear infections
  • Cephalexin: upper respiratory, skin, ear, and urinary tract infections

Other Supplies to Pack in a Bugout Bag

In addition to the drugs already mentioned, a well-stocked bugout bag should also contain the following supplies:

Final Thoughts

Like the old adage says, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. With this philosophy in mind, packing a bug out bag with these 5 drugs should offer peace of mind that you’re prepared for any type of emergency.