A patient called the pharmacy to let us know that he had recently been discharged from hospital and realised that he had run out of his strong painkillers that he takes for back pain. It was a Saturday morning and he wanted to come and collect his medicines as his back pain was getting worse and he was feeling awful. After a few questions it appeared that he was experiencing some withdrawal symptoms from his medication and needed to take as soon as possible.
He had been admitted into hospital with severe stomach pain, which was caused by impacted faeces.
He asked me about our arrangements to come into the pharmacy given the current pandemic. He was on a mobility scooter and the simplest thing would be for me to come outside and see him. His painkillers were ready and he could come straight away.
On meeting the patient, I enquired about what he currently does to manage his constipation as it is a side effect of the painkillers he takes. He had never been told that this was a common problem associated with the treatment and so had been taking his laxatives on and off, rather than regularly. He had been given no additional treatment to take from hospital and so we ensured he had a couple of extra medicines to help prevent his constipation from getting worse. Some simple lifestyle advice around drinking more water, especially when the weather warms up, plus the types of food he could eat to help bowel function was given. Taking the time to chat both on the phone and in the pharmacy car park helped to reassure him about his condition and he left with some tips on how to prevent his constipation taking him to hospital again.
Something as common place as constipation can cause discomfort, severe pain and serious problems. We care about common conditions and so speak to us about how to manage your bowel habits and when to seek medical help.