A charity supporting patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) has produced an information resource about the condition for community pharmacy teams on how to manage the symptoms and tackle common issues with treatment.

The charity Action for M.E. published the information pack last week (26 May) in order to help pharmacies to best treat patients with long-term conditions.

M.E. is one of the long-term conditions with which patients can most benefit from pharmacy care. It is vital that pharmacists stay up-to-date on the condition and its treatment.

As a significant number of patients with M.E. take medication for individual symptoms, they often have multiple prescriptions. Organising and taking medication, along with coping with side effects, may add to the burden of M.E suffers. It is vital to conduct regular medication reviews with these patients.

Polypharmacy for M.E. patients may occur due to any of the following reasons:

  • The symptom management approach can result in many medicines being prescribed over time due to the numerous symptoms of the illness.
  • People with M.E. can attend many different specialists, especially during investigations at the start of the illness to establish a diagnosis, and each may prescribe medication.
  • Increased susceptibility to side effects, and the similarity of these and the symptoms of M.E., can result in misinterpreting these as new symptoms and medication being prescribed to alleviate them, resulting in a prescribing cascade.
  • A high occurrence of multimorbidity can contribute to the number of medicines prescribed.
  • Some symptoms may come and go over time, so it is possible that the indication for which medication has been prescribed is no longer current.

The resource provides:

  • pharmacological management of M.E., including pathophysiology, symptoms and management, and common medication issues;
  • issues with polypharmacy, and;
  • delivering pharmacy services to people with M.E.

[box type="shadow" ]Click here to watch the video and read the blog about the new resource by its author, pharmacist and M.E. patient, Emily Beardall.[/box]