Two-thirds of people unaware of Home Medicines Review — survey

Friday, 13 May, 2022

Two-thirds of people unaware of Home Medicines Review — survey

Falls, confusion, trouble remembering and concentrating. Also dry mouth, constipation and trouble urinating. It is easy to think these are signs of aging.

A recent survey of 1045 people by NPS MedicineWise — and supported by OPAN, Carers Australia and FECCA — found that almost half (44%) didn’t know that some medicines can cause all of the above effects. Almost four in 10 (39%) didn’t know taking multiple medicines can worsen the effects.

These are sometimes called the anticholinergic (an-tee-koh-li-nur-jik) effects of medicines. NPS MedicineWise conducted the survey as it wanted to shine a light on medicines with these effects. “Lots of common medicines can cause these effects,” said Dr Kate Annear, NPS MedicineWise medical adviser and GP.

“Some examples are medicines for depression and anxiety and allergy medicines. Also some pain medicines, medicines for Parkinson’s disease and medicines that treat some problems with urination.

“The problem can be worse for older people as they often take more medicines. Also, your body changes as you age and this can affect the way you react to medicines.

“Studies have shown that taking too many of these medicines makes it more likely you have a fall and need to go to hospital. It also increases your chance of developing dementia,” she said.

The survey also found that almost two in three (64%) of people had never heard of a Home Medicines Review.

“A Home Medicines Review can help you get the most out of your medicines,” Annear said.

“It should also be with your carer if you have one. Carers often help with managing medicines.

“Your doctor and pharmacist are part of the review. They will go through the medicines and make sure they are still needed. They may also suggest changes or different medicines.

“You can also have a medicines review in a residential aged care home,” she said.

Image credit: © Prather

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