EDP column by Dr Ketan Dhatariya

“My pharmacist has asked to see me to go through my medication. I thought my doctor would do that?”

It sounds as though your pharmacist wants to do a ‘Medicines Use Review’ or MUR. It is a free appointment at your local pharmacy where you can spend time in private with the pharmacist and go through all of the medication that you are taking. At the appointment they can explain in detail what the medicine is used for, and also ask if you have any harmful effects from them. They can often pick up issues that you may not have remembered to tell the doctor or not have thought related to your medicine. Make a list of concerns you may have before you go to make the consultation useful for you.

These days, as people get older they are often on more and more medication to try and keep people well for as long as possible. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that medicines do not interfere with each other, occasionally, problems can arise with one drug interacting with another. Whilst most of these interactions may be harmless, sometimes they can cause potentially serious side effects. Your pharmacist will be able to pick these up.

Because of the large number of medicines that some people take there are several manufacturers that offer tablets that are in combination. This means that there may be two, or occasionally more, ‘active’ ingredients in a single tablet. This helps to reduce the number of tablets people have to take, so making it more likely that they will all be taken and not (as has been known to happen), just thrown in the bin or down the toilet!

Your pharmacist may also be able to help you with ways of getting you to remember to take all of your medication – an example of this may be a dosette box where a regular supply of medicine can be kept safely in the right order.

The pharmacist will be able to answer questions on how long you need to stay on your medication, what time of day they should be take, or whether it should be taken before or after a meal. In this respect MURs are excellent for people who have long term conditions.

Don’t forget, that the pharmacist will only be able to talk to you about the medicine that you have picked up at that pharmacy, so if you have picked up any from elsewhere then let them know. Don’t worry, if they suggest any changes they will contact your GP.

For more information about MURs click the link below: