Over the past year, the Institute of Pharmacy of the University of Tartu, together with pharmacists and family doctors, has been testing how a drug evaluation service could work in Estonia and found many people are not using their medication in the right way.
The evaluation process regularly checks a patient's medication, if they are taking it and how it works. It is intended for people who are taking five or more types of medication at the same time and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
It works by the pharmacist reviewing the patient's medication on the basis of information from the doctor and verifies the patient is following his or her treatment regimen correctly, Aktuaalne kaamera reported on Thursday.
Associate professor of social pharmacy Daisy Volmer, who is head of the pilot study, said the service has enabled pharmacists to make greater use of their specialist knowledge.
She said: "We have a lot of elderly patients who take a lot of different medicines and this way the pharmacist can support them more effectively, [they can see] that the medication is being used safely, that it has a purpose, that medication adherence is high, then that the medication is having the expected outcome the patient and the physician are expecting."
Currently, five general pharmacies are participating in the pilot study. So far, the results show people often do not use their medicines in the correct way.
Pharmacist Kadri Petrashkov, who is taking part in the study, said: "Let me give you examples: patients have stopped taking a drug prescribed by the doctor from their treatment schedule. There are many reasons for this why they might do this, such as, the patient feels the drug is having no effect, or the dose is being arbitrarily reduced by the patient splitting a drug which is not supposed to be split."
Although pharmacists currently run the free service in their spare time Petratshkov said in the future it could become a paid-for because it is so time-consuming. The drug use trial will end in January 2020, and there are hopes it will be available in more pharmacies after that.
Editor: Helen Wright