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Addressing the Polypharmacy Challenge in Older People

The Polypharmacy Challenge Blog

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...

APOLLO-MM has lift off

We officially launched our research project on May 2nd 2017 with an event held at the Royal College of General Practitioners, a perfect venue given how central general practice and primary care is to our project. Thirty participants including patients, general practitioners, pharmacists, university researchers, and research and policy advisors from the voluntary sector attended.

Deborah, APOLLO-MM’s principal investigator, kicked off the meeting outlining some of the key challenges of polypharmacy, including:

  • the burden it places on patients
  • that most available clinical guidance considers diseases as singular entities rather than as a collection experienced together
  • the expense to the NHS and the environmental damage it causes when medicines are unused and wasted

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