Do you take four or more prescription medicines?

Lots of different tablets and capsulesI’m looking for people with M.E. taking four or more regular prescription medicines to have a quick confidential chat to help me with a project.

I’ve had lots of responses so I no longer need new people to take part but thank you very much for your interest in my project.

I’m taking part in a distance learning campaign by the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education about polypharmacy (taking many medicines) and the problems associated with it, and what pharmacists can do to help. The campaign runs from 14 March to 13 May. The reasons I’m doing this are:

  • as part of my legal commitment as a pharmacist to undergo Continuous Professional Development covering the scope of my practice
  • to help me write the pharmacy resource about M.E. as part of my voluntary work with Action for M.E.
  • to help raise awareness of what pharmacy professionals can do to help people with M.E.

Although we don’t have a specific treatment for M.E., some of us take medication to help manage symptoms such as sleep problems and pain. You might also be taking medicines for other long term conditions you have, as what we call multimorbidity (having several long term conditions) is common in people with M.E. By “medicines” we mean any prescription tablets, capsules, inhalers, creams, liquids, injections, etc.

I’m asking if anybody with M.E. taking four or more medicines in total, either now or at one point in the past, would like to share this with me confidentially to help me write anonymous case studies. I’m particularly interested if being on lots of medicines has caused you problems such as:

  • side effects or interactions, then having to take more medicines to treat these
  • difficulties in the timing of doses or remembering your medication
  • difficulties in physically taking your medication, for example swallowing tablets and capsules
  • being admitted to hospital as a result of your medication
  • your medication affecting your quality of life

I’d like to use suitable examples to write a blog for pharmacy professionals on polypharmacy in M.E. for the current polypharmacy campaign, and also for a section about polypharmacy in the pharmacy resource I’m writing with Action for M.E.

I will just be collecting information and I’m unable to give you advice, but if taking a lot of medicines is causing problems, you can have a Medicines Use Review with your pharmacist, who might be able to give you advice and suggest solutions to the problems to your GP, or of course you can also talk to your GP directly.

If you’d like to know more about medication that might help you with symptoms, reading the following publications by Action for M.E. might give you some ideas for talking to your GP or specialist: