Pharmacists checking to ensure elderly take their medication properly

By Yumiko Doi

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This monitoring service is used in many countries, it began in the UK more than 20~25 years ago, as well as filling patients own 'pill boxes'.. There are many patient-use boxes and containers on sale to help them remember to take their medicines, marked with days of the week, time of day, etc.. One week is usually the practical limit for these boxes. The usual Japanese drug paper bags are also clearly marked with such information, and contain patient information sheets. Placing them in other containers needs care though, and can lead to errors.

Collecting and re-using drugs is a more delicate matter. Storage conditions such as humidity and temperature are usually unknown, tablets can be crushed if stored the wrong way, and you have to ensure that if you do reissue the meds, the patient is receiving the correct dose, and not a lesser, degraded amount. Only completely sealed, undamaged packages can be re-used.

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If this is true it is good news. As a person involved in the health industry, there is many reforms that need to be implemented. Waste is rife. Putting medication in individual plastic packages is also the main trust of my reform paper. Patients with dementia can’t regulate their medication sometimes, but opening 3 plastic bags a day is too difficult for many.

Reusing unused medication will save so much funds.

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You can buy wall-hangars with pockets labelled with day and/or meals.

But good that steps are taken.

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People not finishing a prescribed course of antibiotics (usually because they feel better and think they don't need them anymore) is believed to be contributing to the rise of drug-resistant bacterial infections.

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“in the UK ..... There are many patient-use boxes and containers on sale to help them remember to take their medicines, marked with days of the week, time of day, etc”

Such boxes and the wall hanger pockets mentioned by pacint are very available in Japan as well. I have purchased a wide variety of the boxes, all different shapes and sizes, octagons, squares, rectangles etc, some pre-printed, some customizable with labels, some handily portable for the pocket or purse. I got them all at the ¥100 shops.

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Spot on Civitas. In underveloped countries this is a serious problem. But Japan should know better. Like the influenza vaccine. Should only be for young children and elderly....

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My pharmacist is way stricter than the doc, and if she spots something the doc may possibly have missed she gets on the phone right away to sort it out. In fact I can often ask her small things instead of bothering the doc.

She insists that I miss none of my medication, but I wonder if that is to protect her salary, the income of the pharmaceutical companies, or to save the country money.

Will she been even worse now when I next see her? .... tremble, tremble, tremble...

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