Five key medicines priorities

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia, the first pharmacy organisation to join the world-wide Choosing Wisely initiative, today gave full support to Choosing Wisely Australia: The Next Wave and identified five key medicines priorities.

SHPA CEO Kristin Michaels says SHPA has a long tradition as an organisation focusing on the best use of medicines and is keen to promote more effective and efficient patient care through better prescribing practices.

“A defining characteristic of the work of our members is getting medications right and the Choosing Wisely campaign supports their critically important roles in protecting the well-being of patients,” Michaels says.

“We have identified five priority recommendations that, if widely supported, will contribute significantly to reducing unnecessary use of medicines and, consequently, will deliver more effective patient management by reducing potential for harm.

“Our list was created by pharmacists and includes recommendations about the use of medicines towards the end of life, antibiotics, over-the-counter codeine, the use of antipsychotic medicines in dementia, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines in older people.”

Michaels said SHPA’s five recommendations are:

  1. Don’t initiate and continue medicines for primary prevention, in individuals who have a limited life expectancy.
  2. Don’t initiate an antibiotic without an identified indication and a predetermined length of treatment or review date.
  3. Don’t initiate and continue antipsychotic medicines for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia for more than 3 months.
  4. Don’t recommend the regular use of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines in older people.
  5. Don’t recommend the use of medicines with sub-therapeutic doses of codeine (<30 mg for adults) for mild to moderate pain.


SHPA President Professor Michael Dooley says: “SHPA joined Choosing Wisely Australia because our vision and mission align with the aims of the Choosing Wisely initiative.

“Our members are passionate about evidence-based medicine and minimising harm from medicines. By partnering with Choosing Wisely Australia our messages are amplified,” he says.

‘Pharmacists are medicines experts and are ideally placed to improve medicines use by having conversations with patients, their carers and other health professionals including doctors about the optimal and evidence-based use of medicines in any practice setting.

“SHPA is proud to lead the pharmacy profession by joining Choosing Wisely Australia,” Prof Dooley says.

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