Symptoms and Medicines

A symptom is physical evidence of a disease or illness that you experience. An example is nausea. There are many different symptoms that you could experience.

Pain, breathlessness, fatigue (tiredness) and anorexia (poor appetite) are experienced by many people with palliative care needs. These may not be the same from person to person. They may be mild in some cases or more severe in others.

Medicines are often prescribed to manage your symptoms. Your medicines may come in many shapes or forms. You could take tablets, liquids, capsules, inhalers or patches. You may also use suppositories or have injections. There are three ways that you may obtain your medicines:

  • With a prescription from a health professional
  • Over the counter from chemists, health shops and supermarkets
  • From homoeopaths, naturopaths and herbalists.

You may take your medicines in different ways or at different times of the day or night. You may take them for different reasons. Sometimes you may have more than one medicine to treat the same problem.

Your medicines may be given regularly to stop a problem such as pain or nausea. You may have others that are prescribed on a 'just in case' basis. This can be helpful as symptoms sometimes change quickly.

In the following pages you will find information about symptoms and medicines in palliative care.

Last updated 30 March 2021