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Commentary: Education around medication review and deprescribing

The WHO document “Medication without Harm” represents a global patient safety challenge which recognises that medication errors are a leading cause of avoidable harm.

Medication reviews and even deprescribing are therefore important routes to reducing patient harm. But how are these terms understood by the medical and pharmacy professionals of the future?

A recent study by a group at Kings College, London, explored medical and pharmacy students understanding of the terms medication review and deprescribing. The study found that virtually all students were familiar with the term “medication review” whereas only a minority of both groups understood the term “deprescribing”.

Medical students tended to focus on the clinical aspects of a medication review whereas pharmacy students placed greater emphasis on patient’s understanding and adherence. The study also found that medical students saw hospital doctors as responsible for reviewing medicines, whereas pharmacy students felt this was a role for community pharmacists.

The authors suggest that medication reviews receiving input from both health professionals could ensure greater patient safety.

Poots AJ et al. Education around medication review and deprescribing: a survey of medical and pharmacy student’s perspectives. Ther Adv Drug Saf 2020;11:1-9.

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