Anticipatory medication introduction

Brief Anticipatory Medication Guidelines

Dr Anna Lock, Dr Elizabeth Freshwater and Michelle Aslett


Symptoms commonly experienced by patients entering the terminal phase include pain, agitation, nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, and excessive chest secretions. To provide prompt and effective symptom control and to reduce distress and anxiety for patients and their carers, it is advocated that medications used to manage these symptoms are prescribed in anticipation of need.

Disclaimer (SPAGG - Rewrite)

This Guide is intended for use by healthcare professionals and the expectation is that they will use clinical judgement, medical, and nursing knowledge in applying the general principles and recommendations contained within. They are not meant to replace the many available texts on the subject of palliative care.

Some of the management strategies describe the use of drugs outside their licensed indications. They are, however, established and accepted good practice. Please refer to the current BNF for further guidance.

While WMPCPS takes every care to compile accurate information , we cannot guarantee its correctness and completeness and it is subject to change. We do not accept responsibility for any loss, damage or expense resulting from the use of this information.