Dr Elisabeth Wearne: What are multiple medicines? – Problems associated with multiple medicines

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, describes one of the most common mistakes with medicines that she sees in her practice and gives an example of how this can happen.

Well, I guess the biggest problem I see is people taking multiple agents that are the same drug, because they are getting different trade names, um, and cost. People who just can't afford the number of medications that they're getting. 

Unfortunately, we do see a lot of patients who wind up in hospital. There’s a really adverse clinical outcome for them, because of simple medication ... well, I say ‘simple medication errors’ ... medication errors that, when you look back, were bound to happen, because there wasn't good communication about them or understanding … I can remember a lady who came in, in kidney failure, and when we got into what was actually going on … what she was taking at home … she was taking Lasix, Urex, Uremide and Furosemide, which are four brand names of the same drug. So she was taking quadruple what she was prescribed, because she'd, over the years, had different brand names of the different drug given.

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