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Pharmacists warn against taking multiple medications

Irish pharmacists have expressed concern over the fact that one in three Irish people over the age of 65 are regularly using five or more medications at any one time. They believe that managing the medication can at times be a complex process and have warned older people that are currently taking multiple medications that they can be at risk of complications from taking a number of medicines like falls or fractures.

Irish pharmacists have asked the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, to widen their role by allowing them to provide medicine use reviews to elderly patients. The consultation-based service allows pharmacists to help their patients get the most out of their treatment and is currently provided by pharmacists to patients in the UK as part of the NHS.

Kathy Maher, vice-president of the Irish Pharmacy Union said “A MUR is an opportunity for a patient to discuss their medicines with a qualified pharmacist. It complements the role of the doctor to identify if there are any interactions, discuss side-effects, eliminate duplication or identify any problems associated with a patient’s medicines. It is a safe, efficient and cost-effective initiative, which puts the patient first.”

Ms Maher pointed out that it is important for elderly people to be aware of the potential risks and side effects associated with taking multiple forms of medication adding “As people get older, medicines management can become more complex. For many older people, it is a challenge for various reasons to stick accurately to their treatment plan, which can have a negative impact on their health, safety and ultimately their quality of life. It is important that elderly people are supported in taking their medicines correctly.”


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