The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has been working with stakeholders, including APTUK, on new guidance on polypharmacy (when people take multiple medicines) for pharmacy professionals and all healthcare organisations involved with medicines.
Medicines have a very positive impact on the lives of millions of people. But as more of us live longer, with multiple long-term conditions, we take more and more medicines. This can become a practical challenge and it also increases the risk of harm.
Polypharmacy: Getting our medicines right provides a summary of the scale and complexity of the issue of polypharmacy. It outlines how healthcare professionals, patients and carers can find solutions when polypharmacy causes problems for patients and points to useful resources that can help. Best Practice statements aimed at specific groups are included and for Pharmacy Technicians these are described as:
There is also a shorter version of the full guidance and an infographic aimed at patients. Clare Howard, lead author of the guidance has also written this blog Polypharmacy: what is it and why is it important
In response to the publication of the guidance, Tess Fenn, President of APTUK, said “As the number of people living into advanced years with multiple long-term conditions is increasing, polypharmacy is a considerable health challenge. The risks of potential harm to people taking multiple medicines is increasing. Pharmacy Techncians and other healthcare professionals have an opportunity to address this and to support patients and the public. APTUK are pleased to have been instrumental in the development of ‘Polypharmacy: Getting our medicines right’. The best practice recommendations in this guidance aim to explain the responsibilities that everyone has around problematic polypharmacy and the resources will guide pharmacy professionals to take a lead role in enabling behavioural and system change”.