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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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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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