New research released by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) reveals how older people are taking a cocktail of medicine without fully understanding what they are or the side effects they are causing.

The RPSGB survey shows that nearly half (43%) of over 65's are currently taking over five medicines at any one time. However, one in five admits to not always taking the medicine as prescribed. Sixty per cent also believe that they either definitely or possibly have had a side effect from medicine - yet one if five said they did not get it checked out.

In response to these findings, the RPSGB is launching a campaign to urge older people to review the medicine they are taking by visiting their local pharmacist for a Medicine Use Review (MUR).

MURs are undertaken by local pharmacies to help patients manage their medicine more effectively and can be done on an annual basis. It involves a consultation with a pharmacist and can be offered to anyone on one or more medicines and/ or long term conditions.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society spokesman and pharmacist, Paul Johnson says; "It's not unusual for older people to get confused with the medicine they are taking, particularly when they are on numerous types of medication. As a result, they may also not realise the reactions they may be causing when they are not used properly.

"Pharmacists are easily accessible and are ideally placed to provide advice to a patient on their medicine which can really improve someone's health or even their quality of life. "

Other findings of the research revealed that almost one in 10 (9%) admit to not fully understanding what their medications do or how they treat their condition, and one in seven (14%) say they sometimes forget to take a pill at the recommended time.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

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