Getting your medication reviewed is not only important for you, but also allows the NHS to maintain a good level of service across the board. By regularly reviewing your medication, you can help the NHS save a considerable amount in terms of wasted medication. Medicine waste accounts for £300 million of NHS costs per year, but regular reviews ensure that you are only prescribed what you really need.
In addition, you can keep on top of any concerns you may have, or any changes that might reduce the effectiveness of your medication. It also gives your GP the opportunity to ensure that you are taking your medication correctly, as government statistics show that 50% of prescribed medicines are not taken as prescribed.
Importance of reviewing long-term prescriptions
It is important to remember that even if you have been on the same medication for some time, changes can still take place which can reduce its effectiveness. For instance, you may have another medicine prescribed to you, in which case you need to be sure that both medicines are working well for you when used together. You may start taking new supplements, develop other conditions, require antibiotics, or start noticing possible side-effects.
By keeping your medication regularly updated and reviewed, you can be sure that your medications are working as they should. In some cases, it may be that you no longer need to take medication, or it could be necessary to reduce or increase the amount you are taking.
How to organise a medication review
Medicine reviews can be performed by both pharmacists and GPs. Pharmacists can perform a Medicines Use Review (MUR) during which they can check how you are getting on with your medication. If your pharmacist feels that there are any changes that need to be made, you can then go on to book an appointment with your GP to have your prescription amended accordingly.
Although you can talk to your pharmacist in confidence about any medical issues without making an appointment, you can book an appointment for an MUR, which will take place in their private consultation area. At the appointment, you can discuss any concerns, possible changes to medication, and things which you think may affect how your medication is working.
What happens during a medications review?
During your review, you will need to discuss all of your current medication and any supplements you may be taking. The appointment is also your opportunity to voice any concerns – from side-effects or reduced efficacy, to trouble swallowing your tablets – or to let your GP know that things are going well. It is important to be honest with your medical professional when reviewing medication so that they are given a clear picture of how well the medication is working. At the end of your review, you can arrange a date or time-frame for the next review and your doctor can prescribe enough medication for the interim, thereby reducing the risk of any medication going to waste.
If you have not had your medicines reviewed for some time, we recommended that you make an appointment with your GP or pharmacist as soon as possible. By doing so, you will be helping the NHS to reduce costs and provide increased services to those who need it, as well as ensuring that you are getting the most out of your medicines.