Prescribing guidance for shortness of breath


Shortness of breath is a subjective symptom relating to breathing discomfort. There may be a psychosocial component to shortness of breath. For the specific management of someone with anxiety associated with shortness of breath, refer to anxiety and emotional distress.

Opioid naïve

Opioid tolerant


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
  • 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.