The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) has urged elderly patients to review the medicines they take after a new report showed that many elderly patients were taking too many medicines without fully understanding them.

The RPSGB survey showed that 43% of over 65s are taking over five medicines at any one time. At the same time 25% admitted not always taking the medicine as prescribed and 60% believed that they had experienced side affects, of which one in five had not had them seen to.

In response, the RPSGB will launch a campaign to urge older people to review their medicines by visiting their local pharmacist for a medicine use review (MUR).

MURs involve a consultation with a pharmacist and can be offered to anyone on one or more medicines and / or with long-term conditions.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society spokesman and pharmacist Paul Johnson said that it is not unusual to get confused when patients are on numerous types of medication.

“Pharmacists are easily accessible and are ideally placed to provide advice to a patient obout their medicine, which can really improve someone’s health or even their quality of life,” Johnson said.

The research also indicated that 10% of patients do not fully understand what their medications are for, and 14% forget to take their medications at the recommended time.