Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome affects an estimated 250,000 men women and children in the UK and a general practice with 10,000 patients is likely to have up to 40 patients with the illness, although they might be difficult to identify from their prescriptions because there is no specific treatment that is licensed currently.
You might see chronic pain, sleep, migraine, nausea, dizziness or depression treatments, among others, on their prescriptions. M.E. patients often have multimorbidity, so even if they are not taking prescribed medication for their M.E. symptoms, you may still come across them whilst delivering pharmacy services, or in OTC consultations.
The guide brings together relevant information for pharmacy teams from research and the various UK guidelines. People with M.E. were consulted via social media and this blog on the issues that are important to them, and were interviewed for the case studies. Prominent pharmacy professionals Dr Mahendra Patel, a Royal Pharmaceutical Society board member and Fellow of NICE, and Alison Hemsworth, Head of Primary Care Policy (Pharmacy and Dispensing Doctors) at NHS England, also lent us their expertise in reviewing the guide.
If you’re a pharmacy professional and would be happy to receive a quick call in 3 months about your views and whether you have been able to apply the learning from this resource in practice, please contact me or Action for M.E. This may help us secure funding for further activities, such as conferences and printing the resource to send to patients who would like to give a copy to their local pharmacy.
If you’re someone with M.E. feel free to print out the guide or just the A4 infographic Essential M.E./CFS facts for pharmacy teams and take it to your local pharmacy to help you have a chat with them about M.E. and be sure to contact me or Action for M.E. to let us know how it goes.
- Visit the new pharmacy page on the Action for M.E. website to download the guide
- Test your knowledge by taking the M.E. e-quiz here on my blog