Dr Elisabeth Wearne: Living with multiple medicines

Hear Dr Elizabeth Wearne speak about the challenges for patients who take multiple medicines.

Main occupation: General practitioner
Years in clinical practice: 7
Qualifications: MBBS, FRACGP

Dr Elisabeth Wearne works in a large community health centre in a coastal area of Victoria. She also provides outreach GP services to smaller towns in the area including Aboriginal Health and trains medical students and GP registrars.

Dr Wearne describes some of the problems doctors and patients in rural areas have managing medicines, as well as some of the advantages that she sees in her practice.

She describes some of the common problems people have, the dangers they may face taking multiple medicines, and some of the things doctors and pharmacists can do to help reduce these problems. She particularly emphasises the importance of communication between doctors and patients. Dr Wearne also describes some of the things patients can do, what they need to be aware of when they take multiple medicines and the kinds of medicines issues they might like to raise with their doctor. She believes a vital part of her job is to be a guide to reputable sources of information for her patients and helping them to interpret information they find for themselves.


Listen to Dr Elisabeth Wearne

Dr Wearne works in rural and remote areas. She describes some of the problems with accessing medicines in these areas and what the local pharmacies can do to help.
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Dr Wearne is always happy to talk to her patients about their concerns regarding their medicines. Some of the discussions include the information her patients find on the internet or hear through the media; and reviewing their medicines to ensure they still need everything they are taking.
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Dr Wearne describes what patients can expect to happen regarding their medicines if they go to hospital in an emergency and what to expect if changes are made to their medicines while they are in hospital.
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Dr Wearne believes that generic brands of medicines can confuse some patients. She feels that communication between patients, their GP and their pharmacist is important to reduce this confusion.
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Dr Wearne knows that affordability is a major issue for many of her patients and others in her area. She is concerned that people are more likely to believe unsubstantiated media reports and to stop taking their medicines if they are already struggling to pay for their medicines.
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Dr Wearne gives her views on what people should know about their medicines.
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Dr Wearne says it is easy to print off medicines lists for patients from her practice software and discuss their medicines with them. She believes that it is a good idea for patients to keep a current medicines list in whatever format they feel comfortable with.
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Dr Wearne describes one of the most common mistakes with medicines she sees in her practice and gives an example of how this can happen.
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The Living with multiple medicines project was developed in collaboration with

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