While I'm in health mode - on Saturday I went to my local chemist for a 'medicine use review' with the pharmacist. This is a relatively new NHS service, which is supposed to take about 20 minutes but which lasts more like 40. I have a long list of prescription drugs which I take to keep me alive and kicking, but I wondered if I might possibly be able to take fewer. We went through the list together to see if (a) I know what the drugs are for, (b) I know how to take them properly, and (c) if there are any unpleasant side-effects or interactions which I may not have mentioned to my doctor, and which might be eliminated by a different choice or combination of drugs. The pharmacist will send a report to my GP and I shall receive a copy as well.
I always make sure that I do know why and how to take my medication, and if I don't like the side effects I will tell my doctor, so I didn't expect much to come of this. But in fact it was extremely helpful. There was nothing on my list which the pharmacist thought to be unnecessary, but fortunately also no two drugs which were likely to interact badly with each other. He sounded one cautionary note about a symptom I was not regarding as significant, and I was able to discuss with him the difference between using sleeping tablets as a tool (OK) and as a crutch (not good).
He was also able to reassure me about an HRT drug, the long-term use of which is thought by some to be too risky. He explained in detail how in my case the multiple benefits far outweigh any possible risk. He ended by saying that he thought HRT had done more than anything else to help women compete on an equal footing with men in the world of work, by renewing their energies just at the time of life when their experience and maturity are fitting them to take leading roles, but when the menopause might otherwise cause them to flag - 'the Maggie Thatcher factor' he called it!