Medicine Safety Week (25 November to 29 November) is an annual event that aims to raise awareness about the importance of taking medicines safely and effectively.
The theme for 2019 is problematic polypharmacy. Polypharmacy is the routine use of multiple medications at the same time by an individual. Problematic polypharmacy is where an individual may be taking one or more of these medicines unnecessarily.
9% of people across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire take more than eight unique medicines each day as part of their regular prescription.
Although it can be appropriate to take multiple medicines to manage health conditions, it can also be unnecessary as patients may no longer be having the intended benefit and may suffer side-effects. Frail and elderly patients are more at risk of side-effects, which include feeling sick, appetite loss, high blood pressure and an increase in falls.
Dr Shaba Nabi, Local GP and Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire’s Clinical Lead for Prescribing, said:
“While many people won’t suffer from side-effects from taking multiple medicines, it’s important for those that do to contact their local health expert.
“By contacting your local GP or community pharmacist, you can discuss your symptoms and consider alternative medicines or whether a particular medicine is necessary.”
Healthcare Professionals within Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire CCG regularly evaluate the medicines available to residents in the area through focused reviews of medication and specific projects relating to medication safety.
Dr Nabi added:
“We want to supply our residents with the most effective medications that allow them to continue to live their daily lives healthily. By speaking with your GP or Community Pharmacist, you’ll be helping us to monitor medicines and ensure the most suitable options are available.”
You can find your local pharmacist by visiting bnssgccg.nhs.uk/health-services/pharmacies/