A recent editorial by the Cochrane Library has considered a number of studies on medicines information, including a study by Ryan et al published by Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and asks ‘what can make how we use medicines safer and more effective?’.
The editorial links to a series of studies that have looked at different approaches to improving how patients take medicines, and summarises previous reviews of what works – highlighting inconsistencies in the evidence, for example that self-management training improved adherence to antiretroviral therapy but not adherence for sickle cell therapy.
It summarises the findings of the systematic review, which considered 75 unique systematic reviews of medium or low risk of bias. This study found that when it comes to taking medicines safely and effectively, self-monitoring and self-management programmes seem to help. Making dosing regimens simpler and involving pharmacists in managing medicines both look promising. Other strategies may have some positive effects yet results are inconsistent.
The editorial, and links to the studies it references, can be found here.