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Doctors are urged to issue fewer prescriptions

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Doctors are urged to issue fewer prescriptions as it emerges 15% of adults take five or more medications EVERY DAY

  • A staggering 15% of adults take five or more medications a day, review shows  
  • Thousands of elderly patients ending up in hospital due to harmful side-effects
  • Report led by Dr Keith Ridge contains recommendations to tackle the issue  










Doctors have been urged to slash the number of prescriptions given to patients.

A staggering 15 per cent of adults take five or more medications a day, a major government review has revealed today.

And 10 per cent of the drugs prescribed by GPs are inappropriate or not needed.

NHS staff will also be urged to work with pharmacists to launch regular reviews of medications and to ensure that patients are not taking pills just for the sake of it

NHS staff will also be urged to work with pharmacists to launch regular reviews of medications and to ensure that patients are not taking pills just for the sake of it

The crisis means thousands of elderly patients are ending up in hospital due to the harmful side-effects of drugs they did not need to take in the first place.

Today’s report into overprescribing, led by the chief pharmaceutical officer for England Dr Keith Ridge, contains recommendations on how to tackle the issue.

Doctors have been told to step up ‘social prescribing’ – when patients are referred to community, non-clinical services – and to send them for gardening or art classes as an alternative to medicines such as anti-depressants.

The crisis means thousands of elderly patients are ending up in hospital due to the harmful side-effects

The crisis means thousands of elderly patients are ending up in hospital due to the harmful side-effects

NHS staff will also be urged to work with pharmacists to launch regular reviews of medications and to ensure that patients are not taking pills just for the sake of it.

The review also said GPs must cut down on issuing prescriptions to tackle climate change. 

It said 25 per cent of the NHS’s carbon footprint is due to medicines, mostly due to manufacturing and the supply chain.

The report found that about one in five hospital admissions in over-65s are caused by the adverse effects of medicines.

The more pills a person takes, the higher the chance of an unwanted or harmful effect.

For example, some medicines, such as those to help reduce blood pressure, can also increase the risk of falls among the frail and elderly.

Some 7 per cent of a dults take eight or more prescription drugs a day, the review found. 

It said 1.1billion prescription items were dispensed in England last year and as many as 110million may have been overprescribed.

The report follows concerns that millions have become hooked on prescription pills, such as anti-depressants and painkillers. 

The Daily Mail has long-campaigned for greater recognition of the prescription drugs addiction crisis.

The report follows concerns that millions have become hooked on prescription pills, such as anti-depressants and painkillers

The report follows concerns that millions have become hooked on prescription pills, such as anti-depressants and painkillers

The review also said the NHS must provide clear information on how to withdraw from prescription pills. 

The Government said it has accepted all recommendations and will now begin work to implement them. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘With 15 per cent of people taking five or more medicines a day, more needs to be done to listen to patients and help clinical teams tackle overprescribing.’

And Dr Ridge said the ‘report will help clinicians ensure people are getting the right type and amount of medication, which is better for patients and also benefits taxpayers’.

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