Dr Elisabeth Wearne: Keeping a medicines list – The most important consideration

Listen to patients and health professionals speak about their experience with taking multiple medicines.

Dr Elisabeth Wearne
Main occupation: General practitioner
Years in clinical practice: 7
Qualifications: MBBS, FRACGP

Dr Elisabeth Wearne, GP, says it is easy to print off medicines lists for patients from her practice software and discuss their medicines with them. She believes that it is a good idea for patients to keep a current medicines list in whatever format they feel comfortable with.

The medical software programs make it really easy to just print off a list of the medications that have been prescribed and you can sit down with your patient and you can go through each of them. You can stipulate on the prescriptions what they’re actually taking that for ... that's a really powerful thing, I think! 

The patient can take that home and stick it on their fridge or keep it in their wallet or keep it in their box with their medications … I think there is a lot of value for patients in just keeping a current list of what they're taking, how much of it they're taking and when they're taking it … somewhere that's easy for them to store. 

I've got a lot of patients, a lot of women particularly, who just keep it written on the back of a tiny piece of card in their purse and it doesn't have to be a set format or a particular print-out or anything. It's just something that works for them that they can keep on them, so that if they’re ever in strife, they've got it on them and they can show it. And they can amend it as they like, according to whether there's any changes. I think that's probably the best idea. Certainly, if someone had something like that and they left hospital, they could whip it out of their purse and change it or talk it through with the pharmacist. I think it has to be practical.

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The Living with multiple medicines project was developed in collaboration with Healthtalk Australia.