Chapter 1: Medication types and uses
It was tense – wanting to make sure I was giving the right medication at the right time for the right thing. It helped to write down what I was supposed to do when, and then to write down when I did it.
Often pain relievers or other types of medications will be prescribed to help manage symptoms that flare up between doses of scheduled medication. These are commonly called “breakthrough medications,” “PRN,” or “as needed” medications.
Keep track of breakthrough medications using a pain diary or symptom diary. Answering the questions below can be helpful with your diary entries. Click the arrows to view.
Can you describe the symptom? (Where did it happen? How strong? What did it feel like?)
What medication was given? (How much? What time?)
How effective was the medication? (Did it relieve the symptom completely or partially? How long did it take to work?)
What seemed to be happening at the time of the flare-up? (What was your loved one doing and feeling at the time?)
Please note that information about common symptoms and how to keep a symptom diary are fully covered in Module 7, Recognizing symptoms to assess comfort.
Words of wisdom
It is helpful to write down and keep track of what was happening at the time of the flare-up. This information can help your healthcare team decide if adjustments should be made to medications.