Library Dissertation Showcase

Why polypharmacy is an important challenge: a focus on classes of medications detrimental to people living with Parkinson’s disease

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2021

Pharmacists working in primary care are often the last healthcare professionals to see a medication before it reaches a patient. Research has shown that pharmacists can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life by improving medication safety – identifying adverse drug reactions, drug-drug interactions and reducing inappropriate polypharmacy (Minshull et al., 2019; Mynors et al., 2007; Schroder et al., 2011 ). This study aims to explore the role of a primary care-based pharmacist in Parkinson’s disease (PD), focusing on their perceived knowledge of the condition, ability to identify and willingness to intervene on the supply of inappropriate medications, and their ability to effectively communicate throughout the multidisciplinary team (MDT). To gain an insight into their involvement in PD, an online questionnaire was distributed to UK-based pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists working within a community pharmacy, GP surgery or both. The analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data collected from 39 responses determined that pharmacists working in primary care have limited involvement in the management of the condition. The results suggest that there is a gap in the knowledge of pharmacists working in primary care and that more training opportunities may be beneficial, to improve their knowledge on the condition and their understanding of medications that should be avoided in PD. On top of this, the results indicate that a lack of time and ineffective communication across the MDT both have a negative impact on their involvement in the condition. The findings also highlight the potential Primary Care Network (PCN) pharmacists hold in terms of improving medication safety and promoting medicines optimisation. Although this research provides a valuable insight into their current involvement, further research should be conducted on a larger sample of pharmacists working in primary care to improve the reliability and validity of the data.

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