The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is running a social media campaign this week to raise awareness among patients about the importance of reporting suspected side effects using the Yellow Card Scheme.
The campaign will have a particular focus on pharmacy to encourage patients to report side effects that may be related to interactions with other medicines, herbal products or food.
Polypharmacy (simultaneous use of four or more medicines - prescription, over-the-counter general sale or traditional) is common in older people and people with long-term chronic conditions who subsequently regularly take multiple medicines. Around one third of people over 75-years-old take at least six medicines and over a million people take eight or more medicines daily.
At the same time healthcare professionals are being encouraged to review their patients’ medications intake, especially when prescribing, dispensing and administrating multiple medicines, as well as being vigilant to monitor, detect and report suspected side effects to the Yellow Card Scheme.
Mick Foy, head of pharmacovigilance strategy, at the MHRA said: “Protecting patients is our topmost priority. Patients, their carers, and healthcare professionals are asked to report suspected side effects on a Yellow Card to the MHRA online or via the app. Reporting helps to improve the safety of medicines for all patients and can result in better tailored prescribing or administrative advice and information about monitoring, which can help improve adherence to treatment, and ultimately improves patient safety.”