Keeping a side effect diary for a few weeks can help in many ways.
- It can show a pattern to the symptoms that you otherwise were not aware off.
- It might show more accurately how the symptoms are affecting your life. This might be better or worse than your thought.
- It can show whether things you do have any benefit. For example starting a treatment for the side effect or switching to a different drug or combination.
- It can help you when talking to your doctor.
- It can help your doctor – and will emphasise how important this is..
The diary can be as brief or as detailed as you want.
It should include details about the following factors for each entry.
- When the symptoms occurred: the day and approximate time.
- How long the symptoms lasted.
- How severe were the symptoms on a scale of 1 to 5. (1 = mild and 5 = severe)
- How the symptoms affect your life in everyday terms.
For example, if you are not sleeping well, how does this affect you the next day?
If you have diarrhoea that is not well managed, does this stop you going to the cinema, or seeing friends in the pub.
If you are feeling depressed or worried, how does this affect your life?
These links included more detailed information and a link to a printable diary.
- How side effects are graded
- How to talk to your doctor about side effects
- Print a side effects diary