Definition and Overview

A medication review, also known as a home medicines review in some locations, is a service designed to help facilitate and improve the communication between patients and pharmacists to promote the safe and effective use of medication. Its goal is to improve the outcomes of medications among patients. This service is provided by pharmacists privately and in person. During the meeting, the pharmacist will gather as much information as possible regarding all medications that the patient is taking and make assessment and changes if necessary.

Medication review services are fast becoming popular in many countries, and are known for giving pharmacists basic knowledge as well as a practical exercise in delivering an additional service to their patients. Pharmacists who have successfully completed a follow-up or continuing education course may offer these services.

Why It Is Needed

A medication review service is needed to:

  • Assess the patients’ health conditions while under medication
  • Analyze how the medications have been affecting the patient
  • Determine whether the medications are effective or are working according to the treatment goals
  • Document medications and the existing care plan
  • Develop new and improved care plans (if some problems are found with regards to the old care plan)
  • Help patients reap the best results from their medications
  • Assess the performance of the medications the patient is taking
  • Monitor the results of a revised care plan

Who Should Undergo

The rise of medication reviews has given patients a greater chance to become more informed and involved with their health care and to better understand their medications. Since pharmacists are medication experts, this service allows them to use their knowledge to improve the lives of patients and enhance the effects of medications to bring optimum treatment results.

Medication review services are mostly recommended for patients who are taking several medications at the same time. These are a must for patients under at least five medications prescribed in the last six months. The review will put each medication under scrutiny and analyze the way they work individually and together. Patients who are eligible for a medication review may receive only one review once every six months.

The review will help patients understand:

  • Why they need to take their medications
  • When the medications should best be taken
  • How the medications should best be taken
  • How the medications are working
  • How much of the medication to take

Since medication reviews give patients more control over their medical care, it is highly recommended that patients under medications undergo a medication review. A patient can approach a pharmacist and ask for a medication review even without the approval of a doctor.

How It Works

A medication review is initiated when the patient approaches a pharmacist and specifically asks for a review. The service begins with a one-on-one interview or consultation with the pharmacist, often in a semi-private area of the pharmacy. The patient will be asked to name his or her medications, including:

  • Over the counter medications
  • Vitamins
  • Food supplements
  • Herbal products
  • Prescription medications

These medications should be brought to the clinic or hospital for actual analysis. Each one is then analyzed in terms of purpose, effects, expected results, administration method, and possibly harmful or dangerous drug interactions. If there are any problems, the pharmacist will revise the care plan.

Different Types of Medication Review

Medication reviews come in different types, namely:

  • Medication Review – Standard:

Also known as MR-S, a standard medication review is a service where the pharmacist reviews a patient’s medications and prepares a BPMH or Best Possible Medication History. This type of review is intended to help improve a person’s understanding of the medications that he or she is taking.

  • Medication Review – Pharmacist Consultation:

Also called MR-PC, a Pharmacist Consultation type of medication review is only necessary when a pharmacist detects a medication management issue or MMI during a standard review. In a Pharmacist Consultation, the pharmacist collaborates with the patient and the professional who prescribed the medications to resolve the said issue. The problem is often resolved by the creation and implementation of a revised care plan.

  • Medication Review – Follow-up:

An MR-F, as it is called, is a review where the pharmacist follows up on patients who have initially reviewed an MR-S or MR-PC.

An MR-F often becomes necessary when there is:

  • A subsequent medication change
  • A difficulty in understanding or implementing the newly developed MR-PC care plan
  • A medication management issue that still needs to be resolved

A medication review is also linked to DTP or drug therapy problem, a condition characterized by several symptoms such as possible interactions. A DTP has to be addressed through the creation of a new care plan.

References:

  • http://www.cumbria.nhs.uk/ProfessionalZone/MedicinesManagement/Guidelines/MedicationReview-PracticeGuide2011.pdf
  • http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/medicationmanagementreviews.htm
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