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CHOICES - page 13
       Some pain medication can be provided in 12-hour capsules, which makes adhering to your schedule easier.
       Pill boxes with timers are available to make sure you don't miss a dose whether at work or at home. With or without a timer, always carry a pill box in case you get home late or experience breakthrough pain. Both your baseline and breakthrough medications should be within reach at all times.
       Patches, such as fentanyl, that deliver pain medication at a steady rate for 72 hours are a relief from clock-watching. As the need for pain relief increases, more patches can be added.
       Although patches allow freedom from daily clockwatching and reduce the likelihood of forgetting your pain medication, they have other problems. Patches can be difficult to apply. The steady delivery of the medication may be affected if the edges come loose.
       Johnson & Johnson makes a patch to go over the fentanyl patch. It prevents the medication patch from lifting up. Or, tape the edges of the fentanyl patch down with medical tape.
       The adhesive on the fentanyl patches may cause an allergic reaction. As a result, the skin may become red and sore where the adhesive touches the skin.
       To eliminate the allergic reaction, hydrocortisone cream can be spread on the area before the patches are applied. After allowing time for the cream to be absorbed, thoroughly wipe the area to remove all greasiness and apply the patch.
       Removing the patches can be painful. It is easier if the patches are pulled off after a hot shower.
       Strong pain medications almost always cause constipation, which can be severe and painful. A good rule of thumb is to take a stool softener every time you take pain medication. Ask your doctor about the kind and amount you should take. Adjust the dosage of stool softener as the dosage of your pain medicine is increased.
       All these methods of pain relief require discipline. But all are portable, easy to use and will not interfere with activities, such as work and travel.

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