The most recent online Patient and Public Interest Group (PAPIG) meeting took place on 20 April and focused on polypharmacy. Polypharmacy is the taking of multiple medications by one person and can be associated with an increased risk of problems including side effects.
Chaired by Dr Clare Elliott, Senior Scientist and Patient Engagement Lead, the first speaker of the meeting was Sabrina Rind, Senior Pharmacist, who gave an update on the recent work which has been taking place at AWTTC. Helen Adams, Senior Pharmacist, then followed this by giving a brief overview on updates to medicines access routes in Wales and how these fit into the wider UK medicines access landscape.
Moving onto the main topic of the meeting, attendees next heard some personal experiences of polypharmacy from both patient and carer perspectives. Rob Lee, from Diabetes UK, spoke in a pre-recorded video about the challenges of taking multiple medications to manage his diabetes, the support he’s received from health professionals and what further support would be helpful. Two AWTTC colleagues, Sabrina and Dr Rob Bracchi, Medical Advisor, shared their experiences of managing polypharmacy as carers of elderly relatives. Both spoke of issues faced by elderly patients in being able to manage taking many daily medications and the side effects that can result. Rob demonstrated how a medication administration record my help carers and patients keep track of when different medicines should be taken.
Harriet Price and Sheridan Court, Clinical Pharmacists from Swansea Bay University Health Board and Emyr Jones, All Wales Consultant Pharmacist then led an open discussion session to gain the views and suggestions from attendees on what information about polypharmacy patients would find useful. A lively and informative discussion ensued with many important points raised and experiences shared. Harriet, Sheridan and Emyr are the authors of a recently published AWTTC guide for health professionals in Wales about polypharmacy in older people and this feedback will help turn this healthcare professional guidance into patient practice.
Finally, Jenna Walker, Specialist Pharmacist and Dr Caroline Norris, Medical Writer, from Yellow Card Centre Wales gave an insightful presentation on the increased risk of side effects and drug-drug interactions when taking multiple medications, medicines particularly associated with side effects, how to avoid some of them and the importance of reporting side effects through the Yellow Card scheme.
AWTTC would like to thank all the presenters for such interesting and informative talks and to everyone who came to the meeting. All are welcome to join PAPIG and attend quarterly meetings, including patients and their families, carers, patient organisations and members of the public.
The next PAPIG meeting is on 6 July 2023 - further details including the programme and a registration form is available from https://awttc.nhs.wales/papig