Medication census will target potential interactions

The inaugural census on medicine use in Australia will look at the combinations between prescription and complementary therapies.

A census being launched this week will focus on the use of prescription, over-the-counter and natural medicines in Australians.

The inaugural National Census of Medicines Use in Australia is a joint initiative of the National Prescribing Service (NPS) and the University of Melbourne.

The survey will focus on the combinations of medicines people take, how they find information about their medication and any problems they have experienced as a result of their choice of medicine.

“There is currently limited information about Australians’ medicines use, especially combinations of prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines,” said the CEO of NPS, Dr Lynn Weekes.

“PBS data captures just one aspect of medicine use, and doesn’t show if patients are taking other non-PBS medicines at the same time.

“The census will give us a far better understanding of what’s really happening. The results will be used to inform NPS programs to help Australians use medicines safely and effectively,”

The current study began after a pilot conducted by Dr Marie Pirotta from the University of Melbourne found there was a widespread mixing of prescription and over-the-counter medicines with natural therapies.

“These initial findings alerted us to the need to conduct a larger scale study, particularly to ensure people understand that mixing medications could be dangerous,” Dr Pirotta said.

In the project’s first phase, a random sample of 3,500 Australians aged 50 and over will be surveyed about their medicine use.

The participants will be asked to outline their use of daily and occasional medicines during specific periods over the next 12 months.

The second phase of the research will involve Australians aged 18-49 years.

Tags: complementary-medicine, medication-management, nps, prescription, university-of-melbourne,

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