Be Medicinewise Week 2013: Just seven weeks to go

Be Medicinewise Week is on again from 14-20 October 2013 and this year will highlight how older Australians can get wiser about their health and their medicines

26 August 2013

Be Medicinewise Week is on again from 14-20 October 2013 and this year will highlight how older Australians can get wiser about their health and their medicines.

Now in its third year, Be Medicinewise Week reminds Australians about the importance of understanding the medicines they take and how to manage their medicines better.

NPS MedicineWise clinical advisor, Dr Andrew Boyden, says focusing on the health of Australia’s ageing population is particularly important because often as we age, we need to increase the number of medicines we take – and we need to take them safely and wisely.

“Australia’s ageing population will have significant impacts on our health and aged care systems; but on a more personal level, getting older can mean significant changes to the way we think about our health and manage our medicines,” says Dr Boyden.

“Chronic health issues become more common with age so people typically find themselves taking more medicines as they get older. And while medicines are intended to keep us healthy, taking multiple medicines can be challenging and could lead to serious problems if we don’t manage them properly.

“It’s also important to remember that as we age, medicines may start to work differently in our bodies. Being medicinewise means keeping track of both the intended and unintended effects of the medicines we take and maintaining good communication with our health professionals.”

In the National Census of Medicines Use in Australia, NPS MedicineWise found that approximately 43% of people aged 50 or older had taken five or more medicines in the previous day. The same was true of almost 50% of people aged 65-74, and two out of every three people aged 75 years or older.

“At last count, more than five and a half million Australians were 55 or older and the average Australian was approaching their 40th birthday.

“This Be Medicinewise Week we’re providing the tools and information people need to help them get the most out of their medicines and be medicinewise.”

During Be Medicinewise Week in October, NPS MedicineWise will release new findings about older Australians’ attitudes and behaviours when it comes to taking medicines. During the week, we will encourage people to take a daily medicinewise challenge and access a range of online resources

ENDS

Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

If you are a journalist seeking comment on a story or more information on any of our programs or campaigns please contact one of our media advisers: Stephanie Childs on 02 8217 8667 or Erin Jardine on 02 8217 8733 (during office hours) or call the NPS MedicineWise media phone on 0419 618 365 (for urgent media requests outside of office hours). If your enquiry is not urgent you can also send us an email.