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With many of us not having seen health professionals for routine appointments over the past year it’s more important than ever that we keep on top of what medicines we do and don’t need. Older people are particularly vulnerable to polypharmacy – that’s being prescribed four or more medications. Up to 50% of all medicines for long term conditions are not taken as intended and can lead to hospital admissions from falls and confusion. An Age UK report published in 2019 called ‘More Harm than Good’ stated that there was a 53% increase in the number of emergency admissions due to adverse drug reactions between 2008-2015 and that almost two million people over the age of 65 are likely be taking at least seven prescribed medicines, with this number doubling to approaching four million for those taking at least five medicines. Did you know that your community pharmacist offers a free annual Medicine Usage Review for all patients who are prescribed at least three medicines. Pharmacists can’t change or discontinue medicines but they will liaise with your GP to discuss any concerns. A Medicine Usage Review can be particularly helpful if you have been discharged recently from hospital as often medicines are changed during a stay in hospital. A review is also really useful if you feel you are experiencing side effects. Do contact your pharmacist if this would be helpful for you.

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