Taking your medication isn’t as simple as just taking it out of its container, putting it in your mouth and swallowing it. There is an abundance of things to consider, especially given all the different formulations medicines can come in these days. It is crucial that the person taking or giving the medication is aware of all the most important information regarding that medication.
Incorrect use of your medications can be dangerous. A lot of people are blissfully unaware that they are not taking their medications correctly and could actually be putting themselves at risk. A medicine review can help identify and address any potential problems.
Medications should be taken correctly not only to prevent harm but also to get the most out of them. There is no point taking a medication every day, religiously, if it’s not going to be doing what it’s meant to because it’s not being taken or used correctly. Similarly, if a medication needs to be taken regularly for it to be effective, intermittent use or always forgetting to take it makes its use futile.
Taking medications, especially when you are taking a number of different ones, can get quite confusing. Often, brands can change without you knowing and this may add to any confusion. Your medications can change over time and it can be hard to keep track of all the changes and why they occurred. A medication review can help demystify your medications so you feel reassured that you are taking all the right medications.
Have you ever thought you ‘rattle’? You may be taking a complex medication regime with lots of tablets to remember every day when this could be simplified and result in saving some money!
It is not uncommon for people to see more than one GP or specialist and if communication falls short between your treating doctors, which is often the case, missing information can lead to conflicting advice, more confusion and uncertainty. There is also frequently a lot of confusion around medication changes after hospital admissions. A medicine review can help pick up all the pieces, consider all the information and get everyone back on the same page.
Medications can interact with each other in various ways and these may not always become apparent straight away. Interactions can also occur with over-the-counter medicines, natural and herbal products and even food and drink. A medicine review can help pick up any potential interactions with your medications for your GP to then monitor closely or consider changing or modifying therapy.
Your GP may also consider a medicine review as a valuable way to filter through your medications so they can work out if they are all still indicated or if treatment could be simplified or ceased. Sometimes medication side effects can be confused for worsening disease states or other conditions. Your doctor may refer you for a medicine review to help identify whether your symptoms could be related to an arising or worsening condition or due to the effects of your medication.
Understanding what you are taking and why you are taking them helps to make sense of your condition and to appreciate the importance of treatment. This not only makes you more likely to take your medications but also improves your overall care. Important information goes with you to all of your appointments with your treating healthcare professionals so they are able to make the best and most informed decisions about your care.
Pharmacists are the medication experts and are a second pair of eyes for GPs. Community pharmacists often don’t know your medical history or background, so they can give only limited advice. Accredited medicine review pharmacists get the full picture and can make meaningful recommendations.
Medications can be very effective if taken correctly but potentially harmful if taken incorrectly. A medicine review can give you piece of mind that what you are taking is safe, correct and will lead to the best outcomes.