What is a medicines review?

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What is a medicines review?

A medicines review is a meeting with a doctor or a pharmacist to talk about the medicines you are currently taking.

The information in this app is based on NHS Scotland guidance about how to carry out a medicines review for people who take a lot of medicines. For these people, their medicines review may sometimes be called a Polypharmacy Review. Polypharmacy means "lots of medicines.”


This is a video recording of a medicines review with NHS Tayside GP Dr Graham Kramer and a longstanding patient of his called Ida along with her daughter Jane.  Dr Kramer uses the 7 steps Polypharmacy Review to help the conversation:


This is a video recording of a patient and carer explaining how the medicines review has been useful to them.




Why do I need a medicines review?

The aim of a medicines review is to ensure that your medicines are helping you with What Matters to You in your life.

When you are first prescribed a medicine it is usually the best one for you, however, things change:

  • You might have developed a side effect
  • Your health may have changed, such as developing a long term condition or a change in a long term condition you already have

Any of these reasons, as well as others can mean the medicine might not be right for you anymore.

Who will conduct my review and when?

The review will be carried out by a doctor or a pharmacist. They may carry out a review during an appointment you have made with them about a health issue. They may also invite you to a special appointment for a review.  You  can also ask your healthcare professional for a medicines review when you want or need one.

What happens at a medicines review?

Your doctor or pharmacist will ask you some questions and also look at your medical record. They are also likely to ask about what matters to you in the way you lead your life. This will allow them to check you are on the medicines which are right for you.

The review is likely to be between 15 and 30 minutes long. You will have the chance to ask any questions or raise any concerns you have about your medicines.

The doctor or pharmacist may suggest some changes to your medicines. They will explain these changes and why the change will benefit you.

These changes may include: a change to a new or different version of a medicine, changing the dose, changing the time of day you take your medicine or stopping a medicine.