Oral Rescue Medicines | Epilepsy Foundation

Oral Rescue Medicines | Epilepsy Foundation

Some people don’t like the idea of using a medicine rectally. It can be socially embarrassing, especially in public, and hard to use. There are now better options than rectal Diastat for most people. If your health care provider has prescribed a rectal rescue medicine, talk with them about whether a different option is available for your seizures.

An oral rescue medicine may be recommended by a health care provider. Oral medicines can be pills, liquids, or patches. Rescue medicines can be given by mouth in 1 of 3 ways.

Oral

If a prescription just says, “take by mouth,” it usually means swallowing the medicine with water. The medical abbreviation P.O. (per os) may be on the prescription.

  • An oral rescue medicine should only be given if the person is awake and alert and is not at risk for choking on the pill or water.
  • If the medicine is in a tablet form, you may be told to chew it before swallowing. Chew medicine first only if your provider recommends it.
  • One medicine, clonazepam, may come as a wafer that can dissolve on the tongue. Another form of benzodiazepine is being developed to dissolve in the mouth too.
Sublingual

This means that the medicine is placed under the tongue where it will dissolve and be absorbed into the bloodstream. The person should not drink or eat anything until the medicine is gone.

Buccal

This means that the medicine can be placed in the mouth between the cheek and the gum. The medicine dissolves and is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Usually, medicines that can be taken under the tongue can also be placed between the cheek and the gum. The person should not drink or eat anything until the medicine is gone.

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