Chapter 1: Medication types and uses

Breakthrough medications

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.