Consultant pharmacists can help people keep track of their medications.
Consultant pharmacists can help people keep track of their medications. John Cook/Contributed

Help at hand to make sure medicine doesn't make you sick

AS the Australian population gets older, we are becoming more reliant on prescription medication.

We currently enjoy greater life expectancy and quality of life because of these medications, but there is also a dark side to their use.

According to one Australian study, approximately 2-4% of hospital admissions are medication-related, and up to 30% of hospital admissions for those older than 75 are due to medication-related problems.

It is estimated that about two-thirds of these hospital admissions are preventable.

Consultant pharmacists are trained to identify potential medication-related issues before they become a problem.

Patients are referred to these specially trained pharmacists by their general practitioner for a free, medicare-subsidised consultation which usually takes place in the patient's home.

The consultant pharmacist then writes a report to a patient's general practitioner and the patient and doctor discuss the recommendations in the report at a follow-up consultation.

Patients who take five or more medications are most likely to be at risk of medication-related problems, although other types of patients can be referred if medication-related problems are suspected.

Gladstone is lucky to have two highly qualified consultant pharmacists available to review patients on referral from local GPs.

Talk to your doctor if you take five or more regular medications or are worried about any problems you think might be medication-related.



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