Monitoring and Managing Common Adverse Reactions

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Some patients may experience one or more adverse drug reactions during treatment with adrenergic blocking drugs. As with any drug, the nurse must report adverse reactions to the primary care provider and record the reactions on the patient's chart. Nursing judgment in this matter is necessary because some adverse reactions are serious or potentially serious in nature. In these cases, the nurse should withhold the next dose of the drug and contact the primary care provider immediately. The nurse also reports to the primary care provider any adverse reactions that pose no serious threat. Adverse reactions that pose no serious threat to the patient's well-being, such as dry mouth or mild constipation, may have to be tolerated by the patient. It is important to assure the patient that, in some instances, these less serious reactions disappear or lessen in intensity after a time.

However, even minor adverse drug reactions can be distressing to the patient, especially when they persist for a long time. Therefore, when possible, the nurse should relieve minor adverse reactions with simple nursing measures. For example, the nurse can assist the patient with dry mouth by giving frequent sips of water or by allowing the patient to suck on a piece of hard candy (provided that the patient does not have diabetes or is not on a special diet that limits sugar intake) to relieve a dry mouth. The nurse can help relieve a patient's constipation by encouraging increased fluid intake, unless extra fluids are contraindicated. The primary care provider also may order a laxative or stool softener. It is important for the nurse to maintain a daily record of bowel elimination. The nurse can help the patient minimize certain gastrointestinal side effects, such as anorexia, diarrhea, and constipation by administering drugs at a specific time in relation to meals, with food, or with antacids.

MANAGING HYPOTENSION. Administration of the adrenergic blocking drugs may cause hypotension. If the

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Constipation Prescription

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