The importance of medication management

The RCGP says that GPs and patients must work together better to ensure proper medication management is achieved

JAMA – the Journal for American Medical Associates – published last week a report entitled Prevalence of Prescription Medications With Depression as a Potential Adverse Effect Among Adults in the United States.

The report showed that between 2005 and 2014, 37.2% of US adults used medication which included depression as a potential adverse side-effect – a statistic showing that the issue is extremely common and more likely to lead to concurrent depression.

The Royal College of GPs has responded to this by stating that the research highlights the importance of appropriate prescription and medicine management, regardless of where the data was gathered.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, said:

“Firstly, it is important to remember that this is a US-based study, so relates to a different health system than in the UK, with different means of patients obtaining prescription medication, and different systems to manage patient records.

“However, depression is a serious medical condition that can have terrible consequences for patients and their families, if not managed appropriately. This new research highlights the importance of appropriate prescribing and medicines management.

“GPs in the UK are highly trained to prescribe, taking into account the social, psychological and physical factors potentially impacting on their health. We will also consider the patient’s full medical record, including any medications they are currently taking, or have taken in the past, and how different drugs can potentially interact with each other.

“The research also highlights how vital it is that patients disclose any medication they may be taking that the GP might not be aware of, or to the pharmacist if buying medication over the counter – and that all medication is clearly labelled, including potential side-effects, to allow patients to make an informed decision about whether to take it.

“GPs will only prescribe medication if they think it is in the best interests of an individual patient, following a full and frank discussion with the patient, including about potential risks and benefits to the patient’s long-term health and well-being.”

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