Many people with serious health problems will require medication for the long term treatment of their condition. As well as prescribing and supplying this medication, regular monitoring and treatment of any side effects and the impact on physical health is a priority.
Medicines management is the management of buying, prescribing, supplying and administering medicines.
As we set out in our medicines management policy (264KB), any proposed treatments should be explained to you, including any side effects or risks involved and alternatives available. You should be involved in and have informed choice of therapy.
If you would like to know more, ask a member of your care team or ask to speak to a pharmacist.
It’s worth remembering that:
- For most people with health problems, medicines have a part to play in the process of recovery.
- All medicines can have short or long term side effects, so it’s essential to work out which ones suit each person best.
- Always ask questions about your medicines so that you can make better informed choices.
- Carers supporting people with health problems should also have the opportunity to ask questions and get information about medicines.
When you have been prescribed medication, here are some of the questions you may want to ask:
- What does this medicine do?
- Why is it important that I take this medicine? Are there any other treatment options?
- How long will I need to take it?
- How and When should I take it?
- What should I be aware of when taking this medicine? (eg possible risks, side effects, taking medicines with certain foods/drinks/activities, what to do if I don’t feel well while I am taking it, how to store it safely etc)
- Where can I go for more information?
Of course, whilst medication definitely helps it may not be the whole solution. Relieving some symptoms with medication can make it easier for other kinds of help to work. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help you feel better about yourself and learn new ways of solving problems or coping with symptoms. Guided programmes of self help may also be appropriate.
Non-drug treatments can be used alone or in combination with medication depending on your diagnosis. These may include:
- Sleep and anxiety management
- Guided self-help
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Mental health formulary
The Drug and Therapeutic Subcommittee, in consultation with clinicians, have developed and published a formulary of medicines used in mental health conditions. The formulary is based on the more detailed prescribing guidelines developed by the DTC. The formulary, in accordance with NICE Good Practice Guideline 1, Developing and updating local formularies is a means of:
· improving patient outcomes by optimising the use of medicines
· supporting the inclusion of patient factors in decision-making about medicines
· improving local care pathways
· improving collaboration between clinicians and commissioners
· improving quality by reducing inappropriate variations in clinical care
· improving quality through access to cost-effective medicines
· supporting the supply arrangements of medicines across a local health economy
· supporting financial management and expenditure on medicines across health communities
· supporting prescribers to follow guidance published by professional regulatory bodies in relation to medicines and prescribing.
Choose your medication mobile app
In April, the Trust became the first NHS Trust in the country to invest in an innovative mobile app which gives service users and their carers essential information about mental health conditions.
The Trust is currently piloting the ‘choose your medication’ app which provides information on over 20 mental health conditions including depression, dementia and anxiety and over 150 medications used to treat them as well as other treatment options available.
The app, which was written by pharmacists, also answers commonly asked questions on mental health conditions and medicines and provides easy read versions for younger people and those with a learning disability.
The app will be used by healthcare professionals in consultations with service users where web access is not readily available. It is hoped that it will offer service users and carers the opportunity to gain an increased understanding of their condition and the treatment options available.
Service users and carers can access the choose your medication website at home by visiting the Trust’s website at http://www.choiceandmedication.org/swyp/