Medicines optimisation

Patients depend on medicines to help maintain health, prevent illness, manage chronic conditions and treat disease. Medicines are such an important part of what the NHS does to help patients and are a very precious resource.

Medicines optimisation is about making sure that the right patients, get the right choice of medicine, at the right time. By focusing on patients and their experiences, the goal is to help patients to:

  • improve their outcomes;
  • take their medicines correctly;
  • avoid taking unnecessary medicines;
  • reduce wastage of medicines;
  • and improve medicines safety.

Ultimately medicines optimisation can help encourage patients to take ownership of their treatment. Evidence, both national and international, suggests that medicines use is “sub optimal”. That is why we supported and encouraged the development of principles to support medicines optimisation.

Led by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, but developed in collaboration with patients, the medical and nursing professions and the pharmaceutical industry, the principles offer a step change in the way that we think about medicines use in the NHS. NICE has also published guidance: Medicines optimisation: the safe and effective use of medicines to enable the best possible outcomes.