A medication review is a chance for your GP (doctor) and a specialist pharmacist to take a detailed look at the medicines that you are taking, to make sure that they are working well for you and are not giving you any problems. Medication reviews are particularly useful for people who take lots of medicines as they can be at greater risk of having a bad reaction and needing to be admitted to hospital.

Also, as you get older, some of the medicines you have been taking for a while might become less important. For example, if you are over 80 you might not be too concerned about reducing your risk of a heart attack in twenty years’ time and you might not want to have muscle aches, constipation and poor sleep which are potential side effects of statins ‐ common cholesterol lowering drugs.


  • The number of medicines patients are taking is increasing, driven by the ageing population, multiple prescribers and evidence-based guidelines (usually based on single conditions).
  • For many patients, the potential harms of multiple medicines outweigh the potential benefits, reducing life expectancy and quality of life.
  • Older people and those with increasing frailty are frequently prescribed unnecessary, or higher risk medicines, they should have more frequent medication reviews.
  • Deprescribing is the planned process of reducing or stopping medications that may no longer be of benefit or may be causing harm.
  • The goal is to reduce medication burden or harm while improving quality of life, thus ensuring appropriate polypharmacy and improving patient outcomes.

What happens during a medication review?

Your GP and pharmacist will look at the medicines you take.

They will consider whether:

  • there has been a change in your health or the guidelines on how to treat your condition
  • you are able to take your medicines without difficulties
  • you are taking any unnecessary medicines
  • there is a different medicine which will be just as effective but cheaper for the NHS

Your GP and pharmacist will look at the medicines you take.

What happens next:

Once the team has reviewed your medicines, any changes that are needed will be made slowly and gradually. We will make sure you are told about which medicines are being changed and can answer any questions you may have.

Changes might be:

  • How often you take medicines – for example, taking a tablet once a day rather than three times a day.
  • You might start a new medicine or change to a different version.
  • A medicine being stopped because you no longer need it.

Download the medication review leaflet here.

Click here for hints and tips for anticholinergic burden (ACB) medication reviews