Tag Archives: Medicine

Keep a handle on what medicines you are taking

Going into hospital or moving to a care home can be pretty disruptive in the short term to your daily routine. To add to the problem, between 30-70% of patients have an error or unintentional change to their medicines when they move from one care setting to another.


Ensuring medicines are used safety is a continual challenge, since up to 8% of unplanned admissions to hospital are due to medication issues.

If you are one of those people who want to be an active participant in your own healthcare, you can do a lot to help ensure everyone knows the correct details about your medicines. This should include:

• details of the medicines you are currently taking and the dosage
• known drug allergies and any unexpected reactions to medicines or their ingredients
• details of relevant contacts (your GP, local pharmacy and family members or carers where appropriate)

You can ask your pharmacist help you put the list together and get them to update it if your medicines change.

This information should ideally be shared within 24 hours of changing location.

Getting the best out of your medicines

If has long been a concern of doctors and pharmacists that between 30-50% of medicines that are prescribed are not taken properly. There are many reasons why this might be the case, but the bottom line is that your medicines are not going to work if you don’t take them!


Since around 15 million people in England currently take medicines for long-term conditions like asthma or high blood pressure that’s a lot of medicines going to waste, and pressure put on the NHS from illnesses which are not being treated effectively.

This is why your pharmacist might ask you if you would like a medicines use review (MUR) next time you go to the pharmacy for your repeat prescription. This is intended to be a short 15 minute conversation to establish that you are taking your medicines properly, help identify any problems you may have such as unexpected side effects, and suggest possible solutions.

It’s good to talk!

Adjusting your medicines may make them ineffective

Are you someone who takes more than four doses of medicine a day? If so it appears you are more likely to crush tablets or open capsules, potentially reducing their effectiveness, a study has revealed.

Crushed pills

And even more worrying, almost half of those in the study (44%) did not think there would be an issue with crushing or modifying tablets. Most of those who modified their medicines didn’t seek advice from their pharmacist, instead turning to family and friends.

Had they asked their pharmacist they would have got some more sensible advice! Depending on the tablet or capsule, and the type of medicine, modifying the dosage form can lead to reduced effectiveness and increased risk of adverse effects.

For example, many tablets and capsules are film coated to prevent them disintegrating in the acid environment of the stomach, so that the active ingredient can be delivered into the intestine without being destroyed. Crush the tablet, and your medicine won’t be getting through.

If you have trouble taking your medicine talk to your pharmacist because there are often practical steps you can take or alternative preparations available.