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The recent Medicine Safety Report published by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia highlights these concerns. It is estimated in Australia that 250000 people are hospitalised annually and a further 400000 present to emergency departments as a result of not taking necessary prescribed medications, medication errors, incorrect medication device technique, misadventure, interactions and inappropriate use. At least half of these hospital presentations are considered avoidable. It is estimated that this costs our economy $1.4billion annually. So, it is widespread and it is a very significant issue in our community. If it hasn’t affected you directly it will have affected someone in your family or someone you know. And, really, it is not hard to believe when we already know that 50% of people stop their cholesterol lowering medication within 2 years of starting it without the knowledge of their GP and up to 80% of people use their asthma inhalers incorrectly.
So, what can we do about it?
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce your chances of being in this group. Obviously, taking your medications as prescribed by your doctor is a good starting point. Beyond this, speak to your pharmacist and your doctor often about your medications. If you are not sure how to take something or whether you should still be taking something, speak to us. If you think you may be having a reaction to a medication, or you are not sure if your medications go well together, ask us. If you are using any medication devices (inhalers, injections etc) ask us to check your technique to ensure you are getting optimal benefit from your treatment. We have a team of pharmacists that are more than happy to speak with you about your medications to address any issues.
We also have a number of services available to assist you in managing your medications. These include:
We know that nearly a quarter of the Australian population have been affected by this in some way. We also know that many of these people have had an adverse consequence simply because they weren’t taking necessary medications as prescribed or they weren’t using a device correctly, meaning they didn’t get the benefit of the medicine. The result is avoidable poorer health. If you are not sure or would like to know more please come and speak with us. Medications are our speciality and a brief conversation with us could help avert serious health consequences.
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