Medicines optimisation can be used by healthcare professionals to support patients to gain maximum benefit from their medicines, with two of the main principles being understanding the patient experience and ensuring medicines choice is evidence-based. Non-adherence is a significant issue in medicines management. Relational aspects of the patient experience, such as empathetic two-way communication between the healthcare professional and patient, the provision of clear information and shared decision-making, can have a positive influence on whether patients take their medicines as intended. In practice, the degree of influence exerted by evidence-based guidelines may result in tensions between the healthcare professional’s choice of medicines and the patient’s experience, while the prevalence of multimorbidity may mean that some patients are prescribed medicines from several clinical guidelines. This raises issues in relation to patient morbidity and safety, including the potential for issues with polypharmacy and an increased risk of adverse drug reactions. Medication review is an important tool for identifying the patient’s medication burden, and deprescribing – the planned reduction of medicines that may no longer be effective – is emerging as a strategy to reduce polypharmacy. Further progress is required to increase patient involvement in the development of guidance for medicines management to enhance the quality of patient care, particularly in relation to their values and preferences. Similarly, further research is necessary to identify how patients make decisions about their medicines use.
Nursing Standard. 31, 42, 54-63. doi: 10.7748/ns.2017.e10883Correspondence
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated softwareConflict of interest
Received: 06 April 2017
Accepted: 27 April 2017
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