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Location: Medication
Thursday, 22 June 2017 10:40


Ordering Repeat Medication

Lots of us take medicines, and some people worry about them. If you have concerns about your medicines, you can ask to see or speak to your GP. This is usually called a 'medication review', and this guide will help you get the best from it.
If there is an urgent problem with your medicines, don't wait for a medication review.

Ring us straightaway, if you (or somebody else) has:

  • Taken too much of any medicine,
  • Have an allergic reaction to a new medicine (such as wheezing, rash, swelling or fainting),
  • Notice a serious side effect or any unusual symptoms, or
  • Notice your health getting worse.

What is a medication review?

A medication review is a consultation with your GP, to focus on your medicines. There may be changes you want to suggest, worries that are bothering you or questions that you want answered. Your GP may also have changes or questions to discuss with you.

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Is it for me?

Some people should have a medication review at least every year:

  • Are you over 75?
  • Are you regularly taking prescription medicines?
  • Are you taking medicine for a long term illness like asthma, arthritis, diabetes or epilepsy?
  • Are you taking medicines prescribed by a hospital doctor or have you come out of hospital lately?
  • Have there been major changes to your medicines recently?

If you fall into one of the groups above, you should be discussing your medicines regularly. Even if you're not in any of these groups, you can ask to see your GP if you have any concerns.

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When medicines cause problems...

Taking medicines is often trouble-free, but there can be problems:

  • It can be difficult to take medicines - for example, if they're hard to swallow.
  • Some people end up taking lots of tablets at different times.
  • There are medicines that don't mix.
  • Some people get side effects from one or more of their medicines.
  • Some people have questions or worries and don't know who to talk to.

Raise these or any other concerns at a medication review, when you meet to focus on your medicines.

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How should I prepare?

  • Write down the medicines you take, what they are for, how much you take and when you take them. Include medicines you buy from a pharmacy, herbal supplements and vitamins not just prescribed medicines.
  • Think about your questions, concerns and suggestions and write them down.
  • If you have special concerns about one medicine, bring it along. Otherwise, writing them down is usually enough.

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What happens afterwards?

  • It may be suggested that the medicines you are prescribed are changed. That will not happen against your will. You will need to agree on any changes.
  • A summary of the medication review will be written into your medical notes.
  • A date for the next consultation will usually be agreed at the end of the medication review.

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How do you take your medicines?

Writing down a list will help you remember when to take your medicines. It's only meant for medicines that you need to take regularly. So there is no need to write down any that you only take now and then (such as a headache tablet), unless there's a problem with it. Please show the list to your GP. If your GP changes your medicine, ask them to change your list as well.

Medicine doesn't just mean tablets. When we use the word "medicine" here, it includes lots of things:

  • Vitamins, herbal products or other supplements from the pharmacy, health shop or supermarket.
  • Over-the-counter medicines (medicines brought from a pharmacy or shop), like painkillers or cough syrup.
  • Liquid medicines or tonics.
  • Lotions, creams and ointments.
  • Inhalers or other devices.

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Questions you could ask before taking medicine...

These are just suggestions. You may want to write on a separate sheet, which you can use for writing down the answers as well.

  • What does this medicine do?
  • How and when should I take it?
  • How do I know it's helping?
  • How can I be sure it's safe for me to take it?
  • What side effects are most likely from this medicine?
  • What should I do if I get these side effects?
  • Could another medicine do a better job, with less risk of side effects?
  • What if I stopped taking it, or took a lower dose?
  • How does this mix with other things I take, or with food and drink?
  • How long will I need to use this medicine?
  • Will the medicine build up in my body?
  • Do I really need to take all these medicines?
  • Is there anything that can help to remind me to take my medicines?
  • Can I have easier to open containers?

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