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One in five patients take medicine meant for others

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One in five people admit that they have taken prescription medicines intended for someone else, a poll has found.

Pharmacists warned that people are “putting themselves in serious danger” after the survey found that 20% of people had taken medication meant for someone else.

A further 18% of the 2,000 Britons questioned said they had doubled the dosage of their own medicine because they “didn’t think it was working”.

A third of people (31%) also revealed that they do not read the patient information leaflet when taking prescription medicines.

The Co-operative Pharmacy, which conducted the poll, said that failure to read a patient safety leaflet is like “playing Russian roulette with your health”.

Janice Perkins, superintendent pharmacist at the company, said: “We have identified that a significant number of people are putting themselves and others in serious danger by ignoring safety warnings.

“People should always read the patient information leaflet that comes with their medicine - whether it’s prescribed or not - as a number of medicines bought over the counter can contain potent ingredients that interact with other medication. Failure to do so is like playing Russian roulette with your health.

“Pharmacists can help individuals understand and get the most out of their medicines and provide guidance on when and how they should be taken, in addition to providing advice on medicine interactions and side effects, as well as how these can be reduced.”


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