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Addressing the Polypharmacy Challenge in Older People

The Polypharmacy Challenge Blog


​Polypharmacy perspectives: the challenge for pharmacy

Nina Barnett, in the last of our perspectives series, sets out how pharmacists need to use their communication skills to enter into dialogue with patients if we are to address the polypharmacy challenge.

The pharmacy profession has entered a new arena: a renewed focus on talking to people about their medicines. However, there is fundamental shift in these conversations: Pharmacists are moving from asking ‘What do I, as a pharmacist, need to tell you, my patient?’ to ‘What do you need to know about your medicines?’ and ‘What do I need to know about you?’ In other words, we are putting the patient's wants and needs before discussing what the pharmacist thinks the patient needs to know.

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Polypharmacy perspectives: the challenge for general practice

This is the third post in our series hearing from different perspectives on the polypharmacy challenge. Here, Julian Treadwell questions whether the prominence of evidence based medicine in primary care has inadvertently pushed out the needs of the individual doctor and patient.

Polypharmacy is a deeply complex area of my everyday practice as a GP. My personal experience as a GP says something about how we have got to where we are now.

I graduated in the mid-1990s when Evidence Based Medicine was in its ascendancy. A core part of GP training was ‘critical reading’ and the understanding of how research evidence should inform the decisions we make with individuals. Even back then I remember having a conversation with my trainer about an imaginary future where “almost everybody would be taking a statin". And another where we wondered if a number needed to treat (NNT) of 30 for drugs to prevent osteoporotic fractures was in fact ‘good’ medicine. Read more...

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