Medicines play an important role in treating disease and preventing future consequences of disease.  There is no doubt that we live longer, healthier lives because of medicines.  But, as we all know, there are times where medicines and incorrect use of medicines or not taking our medicines can lead to problems.  The consequences of these problems can be serious.

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:

  • Webster packing – if you or someone in your family is taking multiple medications and it has become confusing, we can organise the medications into a weekly pack with dosage times and days all set out for you.
  • Medication checks – bring all of your medicines in and we can sit down with you and run through them all checking for correct doses, interactions and side effects as well as answering any queries you may have.
  • Home medicine reviews – under referral from your GP we can come out to your home and review all of your medications in the comfort of your own home.  We will check for any issues and, in consultation with your GP, we will ensure you are on the optimal medication regimen for your health conditions.

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.

Medicine Safety