Recently the Australian Government introduced temporary changes to medicine regulation to ensure Australians can continue to access the medication they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes mean you may not need to visit your doctor or pharmacist as often, and it may also mean that you receive medication in a different form (such as, 2x 40mg doses, rather than 1x 80mg dose).
Combined, these changes might be confusing, so what are some of the ways you can manage your medication well to make sure you stay healthy?
Getting the correct dosage of medicine is essential for effective, safe treatment of medical conditions. Cuong Loi, pharmacist and owner of Terry White Chemmart, Largs Bay, says the best way to ensure this happens is with a collaborative approach.
“Where possible, work with your medical professionals, such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and other family members who can help support you,” Cuong says. “Try to set a routine for when to take or give regular oral medications, so it becomes a habit.”
Cuong says the use of a Dose Administration Aid may be helpful for people who have been prescribed multiple medications each day. The aids come in different forms, but commonly may come as a personalised blister pack with the patient’s medication already split into doses, clearly identifying which day, and when the medication should be taken.
“As pharmacists, we can help the patient, or their carer to understand the best way to administer various forms of medication for maximum effectiveness,” Cuong says. “For example, some medications are best taken through an inhaler, or via a cream, patch or spray.”
If medications are not managed properly, the patient runs the risk of under-dosing, or over-dosing. This could lead to serious side effects and may result in hospitalisation.
If you, or someone you are caring for, is struggling to keep track of their medications, they can raise the issue with their pharmacist or doctor. There are various levels of interventions which may be provided, depending on the needs of each individual patient.
“A pharmacist can perform a MedsCheck, talking through any concerns and answering any questions you might have,” Cuong says.
Doctors may also refer patients for a Home Medicines Review whereby a pharmacist can visit the patient at home to assess and talk through the patient’s current medication management. This may be a good option for people limiting their movements during this time.
“We are finding that a lot of patient consults with doctors are done via telephone or telehealth at the moment,” Cuong says. “We are then sent the prescription via email or fax and we can deliver the medication right to a person’s door.” Telehealth conferencing is also available at some pharmacy locations.
Now is also the time to visit your local pharmacy to receive your flu vaccination.
“We have set procedures in store to accommodate these vaccinations in a safe and effective way,” Cuong says.
Free flu vaccination offer is valid until 31 August 2020. Limit 1 per member over 10 years of age, administered at Health Partners participating pharmacies. Pharmacies reserve the right to only vaccinate adults aged 18 years and over. Clinic session days and times vary from store to store, with some pharmacies finishing their clinics prior to the 31 August promotion end date. Health Partners is in no way involved in the management of these sessions. Free flu vaccination offer strictly only available at a Participating Health Partners pharmacy that has elected to participate in this promotion.