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Spring clean your medicine cabinet


People living throughout Cwm Taf are being urged to spring clean their medicine cabinets at the start of a major new campaign to help patients better understand and use their prescription medicines.

People will be able to take their unwanted medicines to their local pharmacies in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf from today, where they will also receive expert advice about their prescription medicines from their local pharmacist.

Cwm Taf University Health Board is urging everyone who is prescribed medicines to take them if they can and to tell their GP or their pharmacist if they can’t.

medicine2.jpgThe Your Medicines, Your Health campaign highlights the important - often life-prolonging and even life-saving – role prescription medicines can play in a person’s health and wellbeing.

Martin Davies, chief pharmacist for the Rhondda, in Cwm Taf University Health Board, said: “There are many reasons why people don’t take the medicines prescribed for their condition, but not taking your medicines, especially if you have a long-term condition, can have a detrimental impact on your health.

“Last year, an elderly gentleman was admitted to one of our hospitals and died shortly afterwards. His family brought in a large recycling bag full of prescription medicines – there were four different types of blood pressure tablets in the bag, including a three-year supply of one and 50 packets of another.

“All of this medicine would have been prescribed to relieve the symptoms of his heart disease and to prolong his life.

“Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon event – we often see patients coming into hospital who haven’t been taking their medicines.”

medicine.jpgMr Davies added: “There may be many reasons why someone doesn’t take their medicines – they may have had an unwanted side-effect; they may not understand how to take them - the important thing is for people to talk to their doctor or their pharmacist if they aren’t taking them, instead of continuing to order their prescriptions and storing them in their bathroom cabinet or a kitchen drawer.

“The message to everyone is that medicines are important for your health – please take them if you can and tell us if you can’t.”

From today, pharmacies throughout Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf will be helping people to spring clean their medicine cabinets.

People can bring all their unwanted and unused prescription medicines, including creams, ointments, liquids, inhalers, pills and tablets into their local branch where they can also arrange to have a free medicines use review with their pharmacist.

Medicines use reviews are available to people who regularly take more than two prescription medicines or to people who are taking medicines for a long-term illness, such as asthma, heart disease, osteoporosis or diabetes.

Emma Hinks, Cwm Taf University Health Board’s Community Pharmacy Facilitator, said: “The review appointment with a pharmacist at your local pharmacy will focus on how you are getting on with your medicines.

“It will help you to find out more about the medicines you’re taking and to pick up any problems you may be having with your medicines.

“If you are unable to attend the pharmacy for a medicines use review appointment because you are housebound, your pharmacist may be able to visit you at home.

“Remember you can ask your pharmacist questions at any time, but a review will give you both more time to concentrate on you and your medicines.”

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