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What is a Medication Review?
A medication review is a service provided by an accredited clinical pharmacist.
The service involves talking to the patient and examining all the medications they take to identify medication-related problems. The comprehensive medication review will involve examining all prescription, non-prescription and complementary medications (vitamins and other supplements).
Problems that may be detected in a medication review include:
- Side-effects from medications
- Interactions between medications
- Too many medications
- Too many doses of medications
Most importantly, a medication-review involves the patient to help them understand what each medication is treating and to ensure that each medication is exactly the right medication for them.
These problems can arise due to a range of factors so, if you are taking medication, a comprehensive medication review is a crucial task to complete on a regular basis. In particular, if you have begun taking a new medicine recently or have had another significant lifestyle change, such as a change in diet or recent hospital visit, a medication management review should be scheduled to ensure no changes need to be made.
Reasons you may need a Medication Review
- Medicines don’t appear to be having the desired effect
- Change in medical condition or abilities (including falls, cognition, physical function)
- Taking high-risk medications (e.g. opioids, psychotropics, insulin, anticoagulants, antibiotics, NSAIDs)
- Experiencing symptoms that might be due to a drug reaction (e.g. dizziness, difficulty swallowing, swelling, rash, body aches)
- Recent discharge from hospital after an unplanned admission
- Significant change to your medications
- Difficulty in taking medication
- Newly joined an aged care home so there’s a new care team looking after you
In Australia, the government funds Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs) for people living in the community and Residential Medication Management Reviews (RMMRs) for people living in aged-care homes. These reviews are undertaken by specially trained pharmacists (accredited clinical pharmacists) who act as medication review consultants in collaboration with the patient and his or her general practitioner.
Both HMR and RMMR services allow for one comprehensive medication review and up to two follow up reviews if you need them.