Residents with dementia at risk of inappropriate polypharmacy, Scotland hears

How many people with dementia are in a position to answer questions about what is going on [with their medicines] and to have those proper and full discussions, Adam Stachura from Age Scotland has asked the Scottish Parliament.

Continuing the debate on the supply and demand of medicines, Stachura urges Scotland to take a “zero tolerance approach” to inappropriate polypharmacy.

“The patient’s expectation is that those who treat them or help them should know about that and that they should look at every opportunity not to prescribe.”

Among the causes of waste highlighted during the debate, lack of time is attributed as the reason why GPs can write “the easy prescription… to give them drug 4 to counter the side effects or nausea of drugs 2 or 3 for a different condition.”

Other causes of waste include routine repeat prescription orders.

The debate, hosted by the Health & Sport committee says that input from a GP and pharmacist can save on waste, but that deprescribing and consideration of what a patient is on can also make a huge difference: “To their safety and wellbeing, their frailty and their ability to be better aware of what is going on around them, and improve their general quality of life,” says Claire Fernie of NHS Fife.

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