The information given here is intended only as a brief outline of the main drugs used to control pain so that you and your relative understand why the medication is so important and what effects it can have.
It can be confusing for a non-medical person when the words ‘drug’ and ‘medicine’ are used to describe any form of medication but they mean the same thing. Although there seem to be many drugs used to treat pain there are, in fact, only a few main groups. This apparent abundance of drugs is because:
– any one drug may be available in several forms;
– the doctor may try several drugs to find the combination which gives the best results with the least side effects;
– different manufacturers make the same basic drug in different preparations. Think of medicine like coffee on a supermarket shelf – the trade names and the packaging are different but the granules are the same!
Professional people will give you considerable support but you will also have to take responsibility for certain aspects of your rela¬tive’s care. Be aware of your relative’s mental state – if there is any chance that they might be confused about which drugs to take or how much, do not leave any form of medication out for them to take later. The correct dosage must be supervised. If your relative is able to take their drugs safely but has difficulty opening containers, ask a pharmacist for details of specially designed tablet boxes with separate compartments that you can load with a day’s supply. If you are concerned about getting the timing and doses right, because your relative is taking several drugs, it might help to write out a chart as a memory aid.
The following basic rules apply to any medication:
– Follow the instructions given on the label.
– Never stop using a prescribed drug without taking medical advice
– Take the dose regularly, at the stated times, to achieve the intended result.
– Never take more than the prescribed dose – if the pain persists or becomes worse, seek advice.
– Store all medicines in a secure, locked place away from chil¬dren and any person who may not handle the drugs safely.