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NPS MedicineWise has launched a new educational activity for pharmacists to help older Australians manage their medicines safely and avoid medicines-related adverse events and hospital admissions.
Medicines in older people: preventing medicines-related problems is the latest Pharmacy Practice Review from NPS MedicineWise, released this week as part of a suite of professional education programs to address the complex medicines safety issues affecting older Australians.
NPS MedicineWise clinical advisor, Dr Philippa Binns, says older people face a higher risk of adverse medicines events and pharmacists can play a key role to mitigate these risks in partnership with their older patients.
"Medicines are an essential component of care in older people but as we age, medicines use can become a double-edged sword for our health," says Dr Binns.
"Around one in three unplanned hospital admissions involving older Australians are due to problems with medicines. This is a worrying statistic that reflects the challenges inherent in managing a number of comorbidities and increasingly complex medicines regimens in older patients.
The NPS MedicineWise Pharmacy Practice Review highlights the risks associated with medicines use in older people and encourages pharmacists to consider the highly varied and individual ways that ageing can affect medicines efficacy and impact on their patient's overall health.
Dr Binns says the new educational program encourages pharmacists to consider current medicines as potential sources of new symptoms and will help pharmacists to work in partnership with their patients to detect and mitigate medicines complications as they arise.
After completing the activity, pharmacists will be able to:
"For many people, the local pharmacy can often be their first port of call; this means pharmacists are in a unique position to help prevent medicines-related problems in at-risk patients," says Dr Binns.
"Pharmacists play an important role in recognising when medicines carry a substantially higher risk of adverse events or when medicines have no clear evidence-based indication for use in older people.
"Our latest educational activity empowers pharmacists to address these issues and to improve patient adherence, for example through recommending dose administration aids which can help people take the correct dose at the correct time.
For more information about the Older and wiser: promoting safe use of medicines in older people program, available resources and program updates visit www.nps.org.au/medicines-in-older-people/
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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MedicineWise, NPS. "Pharmacists can help prevent medicine-related problems in older Australians." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 20 Dec. 2013. Web.
11 Mar. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/270471>
MedicineWise, N. (2013, December 20). "Pharmacists can help prevent medicine-related problems in older Australians." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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