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There are strict measures in place with regards to controlled drugs. Controlled drugs are open to misuse and these have a specific, separate register, along with strict guidance for administration, storage and disposal.

Prescription-only medication is medication prescribed specifically for an individual by a doctor, dentist, nurse prescriber or a prescribing pharmacist. So, prescription-only medication must be used or administered in the exact way prescribed. Then there are homely remedies, and organisations must have a recommended list of homeopathic or homely remedies. Organisation policy and procedure will give information as to how many times that type of homely remedy can be given. It is important to be aware of any individuals or their families that bring in medications, even such things as decongestants and cough syrups, because obviously this can affect other medications that individuals are currently being prescribed.

For example, somebody who's taking Paracetamol regularly for mild pain is given Lemsip by a well-meaning family member who may not be aware that they are already taking Paracetamol. Lemsip contains Paracetamol as well, so there is an increased risk of an overdose. Other examples could be St. John's wort which is easily purchased from most chemists. The use of St. John's wort if somebody is on antidepressants can reduce the effectiveness of the antidepressant, or cause other problems. It's also important to be aware of the difference between generic names and brand names. The most obvious one is probably Ibuprofen and Nurofen, which are the same thing. If any drug comes into your workplace that has a different name or you are unsure of, don't give it until you have sought advice from a pharmacist. Always document why a medication has not been administered and report this to line management.