Whanganui launches 'Too many medicines?' pilot service

28 August 2013
The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) and Whanganui Regional Health Network (WRHN) are delighted to be piloting the Central Region’s Too many medicines?  service set to be launched on Monday.
The service is all about raising awareness and reducing harm resulting from people taking a lot of pills, and a combination of pills that might not be working well together, says WDHB allied health manager Louise Allsopp. That includes 'over the counter' medications such as paracetamol, asprin and ibuprofen.
“We’re asking people to discuss their medicines with their chemist or doctor while at the same time, urging them not to stop taking their medicines while they wait for an appointment,” Mrs Allsopp says.
“We want to ensure people are taking the right pills for them. As we get older, we tend to be given more medicines for different conditions. And sometimes we’re given them by different doctors so we all need to stop and check that all these medicines, including herbal and Maori medicines, and medicines purchased in supermarkets, are working well for us.”
Mrs Allsopp says posters and leaflets are being placed in doctors’ rooms and other locations around towns and rural communities throughout the district to highlight the Too many medicines? service which a working group of clinicians and specialists from Wanganui Hospital and general practices across the Central Region (including from the WDHB and WRHN) have been working on for some months.
“In the meantime, if anyone is experiencing dizziness, confusion, nausea, constipation, incontinence, a tendency to fall or other concerning symptoms it might be a sign that your medicines are not working well together,”  Mrs Allsopp says. “Not knowing why you’re taking a medicine is a good reason to have your medicines looked at.  If you have concerns, please discuss with your chemist or doctor.”
Regional consumer representative Jo Rangooni says there was a lot of interest in the Too many medicines ? pilot service at a New Zealand Rural Women’s meeting she attended in Marton last month. She agrees with Mrs Allsopp that consumers really do need to question what medicines they’re taking.