Prescribing guidance for excessive secretions


Noisy breathing is usually a result of excessive secretions and is an indicator of impending death. Noisy breathing occurs in about half of people who are actively dying. This symptom may be more distressing for the family and treating staff than for patients themselves.
  1. Prescribe:  
  2. Administer if excessive respiratory secretions are present

Prescribing considerations

  • Review patient regularly
  • If greater than 3 doses of any PRN medicine are required over a 24 hour period, review and consider changes to medication and syringe driver orders
  • Always check availability of medicines through the patient’s usual pharmacy

The medicines listed throughout this app are in line with those endorsed by Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM) within the Community End-of-Life Medication List (61kb pdf).



Page updated 22 May 2017


palliAGED is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.