Friday 30 September 2016

Older people urged to ask for advice in making sure medicine is taken at the right time and in the right way.

Published 02/03/2016 | 11:50

The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has today urged older patients to ask their pharmacists for help in making sure they take their medication at the right time and in the right way.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has today urged older patients to ask their pharmacists for help in making sure they take their medication at the right time and in the right way.

The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has today urged older patients to ask their pharmacists for help in making sure they take their medication at the right time and in the right way.

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The IPU is also calling for the role of community pharmacists to be expanded to allow for the provision of Medicines Use Reviews to older patients.

Research shows that people who take medicine for more than one condition are more likely not to take their medication properly. One-third of over-65s in Ireland regularly take five or more medicines and just 15 per cent of people with three medical conditions say they take their medicine without fail.

IPU President Kathy Maher said that medicines management can be complex for older people, especially for those dealing with more than one condition. However, she said: “It really is very important for your health and quality of life that you take your medicine as instructed”.

Ms Maher offered five tips to help people to manage their medicines properly:

  • Check the label and read the leaflet. Follow the instructions provided and ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Take the medicine exactly as prescribed and ask your pharmacist what you should do if you miss a dose.
  • If swallowing tablets is difficult, ask your pharmacist if there is a liquid form of the medicine or whether you could crush your tablets. Do NOT break, crush or chew tablets without asking your pharmacist first.
  • Try to take your medicines at the same time every day.
  • Dividing your medicine in a weekly tray can be a helpful way of making sure you don’t forget to take a tablet.

Ms Maher said that the IPU “will be engaging with the Minister for Health to make the case for allowing pharmacists to undertake a review of their older patients’ medications through a one-on-one consultation with the patient".

She added: "Community pharmacists are the most accessible and most consulted of the healthcare professions and pharmacists have the skills to advise patients on their medication adherence. Given the benefits for older people’s health outcomes, the introduction of Medicines Use Reviews is eminently sensible”.

Independent News Service

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