This is a problem that can cause worry. However, with some planning you can minimise the likelihood of it occurring. A few suggestions to ensure that you always have enough medication(s) include:
Make contact with your local pharmacist.
Discuss your needs, and the medications you might require from time to time.
Try to get prescriptions to the pharmacist at least one day before you need them.
Check if the pharmacist has an after-hours service
If not, ask whether they can give you another contact in case you need supplies out of daytime opening hours
Check your stock of medication before 9am each day
Make sure you have enough to see you through, especially if a weekend or public holiday is approaching
What if the ampoule would not open?
Sometimes glass ampoules can be a bit tricky to open. Please use the step-by-step guide provided.
Your nurse may provide you with an ampoule opener and show you how it is used.
Some ampoules have a ‘dot’ located on the neck of the ampoule. If there is a dot on the ampoule this shows where the weak point in the neck is and where the ampoule should break. Ensure the dot is facing away from you.
Hold the ampoule in one hand, place the ampoule opener on to the top of the ampoule using the other hand. With your thumb, push the neck of the ampoule away from you to snap the top off.
What if the injection is painful when I give it?
Subcutaneous injections can sometimes cause mild discomfort when being given.
Some medications do sting more than others. Giving the injection slowly can help to minimise the stinging
Cold injections can cause pain and irritation. To overcome this, gently rub the unopened ampoule between your palms for a couple of seconds. This will warm up the solution enough to lessen the stinging.
What do I do if the injection site is leaking?
Contact your healthcare team if you think that the site is leaking. Do not use the cannula to give injections until a doctor or nurse have visited.
What if I am not available to give a medication when a breakthrough symptom occurs?
Only carers who have been trained directly by the healthcare professionals to give subcutaneous medications should administer these. You should not try to train anyone else to give these medications in your absence. If you are not available or if you don’t feel able to give a medication the healthcare professionals should be contacted so they can attend to give the medication.
Remember, if you are worried about any aspect of care, please let your healthcare team know. Carer support services are also available, please ask your doctor or nurse about this.