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Medications at end of life

A range of medications will need to be considered at end of life to address worsening symptoms related to breathing, pain, saliva management and anxiety. The palliative care team should be actively involved to ensure optimal end of life care (MND Australia 2011).

MND Australia 2011

Dosage and modes of administration of medications should be discussed with the palliative care physician.

  • opioid analgesics - reduce cough reflex, relieve dyspnoea, control pain and help to reduce fear and anxiety
  • anti-cholinergics - such as hyoscine hydrobromide and glycopyrrolate reduce saliva and lung secretions
  • sedatives - such as diazepam, midazolam, clonazepam and chlorpromazine reduce anxiety
  • oxygen - can be used to relieve the sensation of breathlessness
  • Haloperidol - for terminal restlessness

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