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Four guiding principles for medicines optimisation

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Medicines optimisation is about evaluating and measuring the effectiveness of medicines prescribed to an individual. It helps to prevent over-prescribing, engage patients in their own healthcare planning and monitor patient progress.

In order to empower patients and the public in making the most of their medication, it’s essential that healthcare professionals understand the concept behind medicines optimisation. The four guiding principles we look at in this article describe medicines optimisation in practice, and how they impact outcomes. The principles meet current national guidance and good practice guidance regarding medicines optimisation.


 Principle 1

Understand the patient’s experience

An open dialogue between yourself and the patient or their carer must exist to obtain the best possible outcomes from the medicines they take. It must be emphasised that the patient indeed has a choice about their medication, playing an active role in the management of their own condition. Clinicians must also recognise that a patient’s experience may well change over time, even if the medication itself does not. 


 What are the intended outcomes of this principle?


 Principle 2

Evidence based choice of medicines

This is about ensuring that the most appropriate choice of clinically and cost-effective medicines (informed by the best available evidence base) are made that best meets the patient’s needs.


 What are the intended outcomes of this principle?


 Principle 3

Making sure medicines are as safe as possible

It’s the responsibility of all clinicians and healthcare professionals to make sure their patients are using their medication as safely as possible. This includes avoiding or limiting side effects and interactions. There must also be safe processes and systems in place, along with effective communication between professionals. 


 What are the intended outcomes of this principle?

Principle 4

Making medicines optimisation part of routine practice

This is about strongly encouraging healthcare practitioners to routinely discuss their patients’ treatments and outcomes with each other and with the patients/carers themselves. Again, the concern is in achieving best patient outcomes.


 What are the intended outcomes of this principle?


Do you feel confident in understanding NHS guidance around medication reviews?

Every time a patient’s medicines are changed, stopped, or increased, their medications should be reviewed. This however presents challenges for clinicians. In our Medication reviews, structured medicines reviews (SMRs), medicines optimisation and deprescribing course, we look to help practitioners tackle these challenges.

The course offers guidance on identifying patients who are taking too many medications and explores the when, how and why to stopping treatment. It’s particularly aimed at clinicians who conduct SMRs or any form of medication review.

Currently being delivered online, the course is worth 4 hours of valuable CPD over half a day (9am - 1pm). As this is one of our most popular ones it tends to book up well in advance so make sure you secure your place as early as possible. All course material, certificates and evaluations are provided.