Let's put a stop to prescription addiction!
The goal of my crowdfunding mission is to raise funds to further develop an app prototype that I've been building. My prototype allows people to gain more information, more control and improve the safety of taking their prescription medications.
Currently, support for people taking prescription medication is minimal, which has resulted in high levels of addiction for people all over the country, as well as increases in hospital readmissions and a decrease in sustainability. This support is further compromised in areas of higher deprivation.
There is a lack of information given to patients about how long their prescription is recommended for under clinical guidelines, or what patients could do for themselves alongside taking their prescriptions, to encourage recovery.
So...what can be done?
The app is a new take on an old problem. A way of giving people easy access to the most important information on their prescriptions. Forget finding that bit of paper at the bottom of the medication box and unravelling it 50 times! This is a way of gaining that information quickly and in a way that's easy to follow. (Without digging out your grans reading glasses to make out the tiny writing!)
The kind of help you might need could be...to improve your own understanding of your medications, how they work, finding easy-to-understand information, or what to do if you suspect that you're developing a medication dependency.
You may also need help conveying what medication you usually take to other medical professionals. This app is designed to make the transition between primary, secondary and tertiary care as seamless as possible and help to avoid medication errors.
The app aims to support all users to find information, help and advice when things don't go to plan, as well as giving the user access to their issued prescriptions whenever they need it.
So why do so many people fall victim to the mis-use of prescription medication anyway..?
Well, I'm glad you asked! Long-term prescribing is wide-spread, including medications that come with clinical guidelines that express the need for short-term exposure for acute conditions. This has a massive long-term effects, not only the individual and their families, but on the NHS too.
The Minister for Public Health and Primary Care commissioned a report by Public Health England (PHE) in 2017, to identify and scale the causes of prescription drug dependency. The report focused on 5 medications:
- Benzodiazepines ( Anxiety medication)
- Gabapentin & Pregabalin ( Anxiety, Epilepsy, Neuropathic pain)
- Opioids ( Chronic non-cancer pain)
- Z-drugs ( Insomnia, anxiety, other disorders)
The report showed that not only did Benzodiazepines, Z-drugs, Opioids and Gabapentinoids come with a high risk of dependence and withdrawal, but also showed an evidence-based link to areas of deprivation being more likely to evolve addiction problems with prescription medication.
If you want to read the full report please click here... https://www.gov.uk/government/news/dependence-on-prescription-medicines-linked-to-deprivation
How does the App help the situation?
To help counter-act these issues, the app will allow the user to access important information as soon as they've been provided with their prescription. This allows greater transparency between a GP/Pharmacist and their patient. This includes better access and understanding of warnings, side-effects and ability to opt-in for medication reviews. These, along with other features, alert and actively promote users to make changes and improve their relationships with prescription medication. By levelling the playing field, this app would be able to supply the same easy-to-access information and prompting service to people across the country, no matter their area.
The above image shows how geographical areas of the UK compare using data representing issued prescriptions of Opioids during 2017.
So...How do we move forward?
So many people today really care what goes into their body. The hike in gym users, veganism and active holidays are reflective of a society that is changing it's view on health. But there is still a gaping hole that so many people fall into unknowingly, which is developing addictions to prescription medications. This is simply because we are not giving people enough information, or actively increasing awareness about what our medications actually do. The positives of prescription medication should always be shared and praised, but there should also be far more ways for everyone to access easy to understand information and ways to access help when its needed.
More needs to be done to protect and support people who need to use prescription medications (which is, lets face it, all of us!) By building this prototype, I will be able to pitch to healthcare companies and create a way of bringing these solutions to wider audiences.
Thank you for stopping by and helping me to get my app off the ground :)