I have come across something so simple, so easy to do, and so intuitive, that I can’t believe that I haven’t always done it. It helps patients understand their medication, and enables better conversations about concordance between patient and prescriber.
It is indication prescribing. I have always done this for PRN medications, without even thinking. For example, if I prescribe paracetamol, the prescription says ‘take two tablets four times a day for pain’.
Now, when I add a repeat prescription, I am adding ‘take one daily to treat high blood pressure’ or ‘take one tablet before meals to ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome’. So far, it has had good feed-back, it costs nothing, and it moves the responsibility for compliance, concordance, for treatment towards a more patient-centred model.
There will always be the patients who state that they only take four white tablets at breakfast, or one of my more memorable old ladies who used to keep her many medications in a bowl like pan-drops and helped herself to a few each day.
I hope, by making Indication Prescribing the norm in our practice, that these patients will become the outliers. For each medication review by prescribers and the practice pharmacist, an opportunity to make this become the way things are done around here.