Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices

Reviewing medicines


Whether you prescribe with repeats or on a one-off basis, you must make sure that suitable arrangements are in place for monitoring, follow-up and review. You should take account of the patients’ needs and any risks arising from the medicines.


When you review a patient’s medicines, you should reassess their need for any unlicensed medicines (see paragraph 103 to 106) they may be taking, for example antipsychotics used for the treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia.


Reviewing medicines will be particularly important where:

  1. patients may be at risk, for example, those who are frail or have multiple illnesses
  2. medicines have potentially serious or common side effects
  3. the patient is prescribed a controlled or other medicine that is commonly abused or misused
  4. the BNF or other authoritative clinical guidance recommends blood tests or other monitoring at regular intervals.

Pharmacists can help improve safety, efficacy and adherence in medicine use, for example by advising patients about their medicines and carrying out medicines reviews. This does not replace your duty to ensure you are prescribing and managing medicines appropriately.


You should consider and act appropriately on information and advice from pharmacists and other healthcare professionals who have reviewed a patient’s use of medicines. This is especially the case if there are changes to a patient’s medicines, or if they report problems with tolerance, side effects or with taking medicines as directed.