RPS publishes guidance on the 'significant public health challenge' of polypharmacy
Guidance on polypharmacy from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society outlines best practice in problematic polypharmacy management for pharmacists, other healthcare professionals and patients.
Source: Courtesy of Clare Howard
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has published ‘Polypharmacy: Getting our medicines right’ — new guidance for pharmacists and healthcare organisations involved with medicines. Describing polypharmacy as a “serious and significant public health challenge” as average lifespans increase, the guidance sets out the current scale of polypharmacy, with an emphasis on problematic polypharmacy.
The guidance, which has been endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians, outlines best practice in problematic polypharmacy management for pharmacists, other healthcare professionals and patients themselves. Its recommendations include that all settings where medicines are used must have access to an appropriately qualified pharmacy professional, and that in any setting, systems must be established to flag patients who are taking ten or more medicines so that a medication review can be undertaken.
The benefits of good polypharmacy management, the guidance says, include improved adherence, better health and reduced medicines waste.
“The role of pharmacists in reviewing people’s medicines and ensuring they are on the right medicines for their conditions is becoming increasingly important,” said Ash Soni, president of the RPS. “The greater integration of pharmacists across primary care is an ambition of the ‘NHS Long-Term Plan’. Closer working across the health professions is the way to help ensure patients only take the medicines they need and get the most benefit from them.”
‘Polypharmacy: Getting our medicines right’ is the product of a steering group led by Clare Howard, clinical lead for medicines optimisation at Wessex Academic Health Science Network. “We have highlighted the importance of robust medicines data to help clinicians to identify those patients deemed to be at risk from harm from polypharmacy, and shown readers how those data are being used in Scotland, England and Wales,” said said.
But “just acknowledging the problem will not be enough”, Howard added.
“Patients and the public need to be much better engaged in the prescribing of medicines. Systems need to move away from a paternalistic approach of prescribing, with patients as a passive recipient, towards a much more person-centred approach with shared decision-making around medicines.”
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206078
Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press
This new edition of Dale and Appelbe's Pharmacy and Medicines Law is the definitive guide to law and ethics for pharmacy practice in the UK. It covers law and professional regulation and is firmly established as the definitive student textbook and reference work on this subject in the UK. Fully updated to include changes to pharmacy laws and regulation.£57.00Buy now
Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions features over 400 closed book and calculation questions. With the registration exam having gone through a complete transformation in 2016, this volume has been developed around the new General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) guidelines.