Purpose and audience

This Managing Multiple Medicines (formerly Polypharmacy)  app and website provide information and tools to support healthcare professionals, patients and carers in making decisions about taking multiple medicines. It contains two toolkits:

 1. A toolkit for healthcare professionals 

 2. A toolkit for patients and carers taking multiple medicines 

  • This provides tools and information resources to support self-management and shared decision-making by patients and professionals during consultation  and medicines review. This toolkit will support patients to prepare in advance of meeting with their healthcare professional, and to follow up on key issues after the meeting. 

Both toolkits are freely available to all users. Professionals are encouraged to download the patient and carer toolkit as well as the professional one, so that they can guide and support patients in using the toolkit to self-manage and to participate in decisions about their medicines. Likewise, patients and carers can choose if they wish to read the detail of the national guidance in the professional toolkit. 

Why this app and website were developed

The care of people with multiple medical conditions is one of the greatest challenges now faced by the health service, as it can create overly complex health care for some of the most vulnerable in society. The vast majority of medical research, guidelines and contractual agreements has traditionally focussed on single targets for single disease states, whereas in reality most patients have multiple conditions, requiring multiple treatments.  The resulting polypharmacy (use of multiple medicines) can be appropriate or inappropriate and can potentially result in risks that outweigh the benefits of individual medicines.

To respond to this need to support professionals and patients and carers in working together to make decisions about taking multiple medicines, the Scottish Government Effective Prescribing and Therapeutics Branch has developed this app and website based on the national Polypharmacy Guidance: Realistic Prescribing, 3rd edition. This guidance highlights the need to make decisions about medicines based on outcomes that matter to the individual patient – as recommended by Realistic Medicine.

The app and website have been developed with extensive input from patients, carers and professionals through:

  • Feedback on patient and shared decision-making sections of the original polypharmacy app launched in 2018.
  • A review of the research evidence and a series of interviews with patients and professionals, to identify the most important outcomes for people taking multiple medicines.
  • A survey of patients and carers in two health boards – NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Ayrshire and Arran – to confirm priorities for a mobile app and website and to identify how best to support people who are not confident in using digital tools for health information.
  • Five workshops with combined patient and professional groups to gather input to development of the app and website and to capture feedback on initial mock-ups.


  • The Scottish Government Effective Prescribing and Therapeutics Branch will review content within the app annually and identify any requirements for updating.
  • Medicines information content extracted from NHS UK is updated as a minimum every 7 days.
  • Technical maintenance and updating of the app and website are carried out by Tactuum Ltd and funded through the national decision support programme led by the Digital Health and Care Institute.

Conditions of use


Scottish Government provides this app/website to benefit health and social care organisations across Scotland.  Each individual participating organisation which contributes resources to the app/website has sole responsibility for the information created or published by them. Any information appearing on this site is issued as general information and does not constitute a warranty by  the Scottish Government or any other  organisation, nor should it be taken as advice. No responsibility can be accepted by the Scottish Government or any other organisation for action or inaction as a result of information contained on this app/website. Users should take advice from health and care professionals in respect of specific situations. The use and access of pages of this app/website is subject to the terms and conditions set out below and by this disclaimer. By using or accessing this app/website, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.


Content on this app/website is copyrighted to Scottish Government and its agents unless otherwise stated. Users should consult the copyright statements on the resources signposted by this site.

Links to other Websites and applications

The provision on this app/website of a link to another website or application does not constitute any authorisation to access material held at that location. Links to sites are provided for informational purposes only and no responsibility is accepted for the quality of resources to be found on such websites. The contents and material made available on linked sites are completely out with our control and as such no liability is accepted for any damages resulting from accessing or failing to access these sites. No endorsement is expressed or implied by the presence of a link on this  app/website. The contents of a linked-to website may change without our knowledge and as a result, links may break or may terminate on pages which were not the original targets of a link. No responsibility or liability for the privacy of personal information is accepted for linked to websites, as these are beyond our control.


The resources contained on this app/website, including all files that are authorised for public and password-protected download or access, are provided on an “as is” basis and without any warranties. No warranty is given that files downloaded or accessed from this  app/website are free of computer viruses. No warranties are made as to fitness for purpose, quality or completeness of information. This app/website excludes any liability for any errors in or omissions in information provided on or linked to from this website.

Reliability of information

The Scottish Government uses its best efforts to ensure the accuracy and reliability of information on this app/website in accordance with the policies defined for this site . However, no guarantees are made that the information contained on this app/website  or associated, or linked to websites is accurate, complete and current at any given time. Information presented on this app/website  or associated sites may be changed at any time. The resources made available on this app/website are intended to assist  health and social care professionals and citizens in Scotland and are for information only. The app/website is not intended in any way to replace the advice of health and care professionals. Nothing on this app/website is intended to constitute advice. Specific advice should be sought in specific situations from a properly qualified health or care professional. Content on this website is governed by a number of policies and guidelines. Users of this app/website agree to inform the Scottish Government Effective Prescribing and Therapeutics Branch using the Feedback form  if they should come across any material contained which they consider to be potentially in breach of any of the published  Scottish Government or NHS Scotland policies or of any relevant legislation in order for the appropriate remedial action to be taken.

Availability of the app/website

Although this app/website has been tested and should work correctly under normal circumstance, there are many factors both within and outside of the control of this site which may prevent the app/website from being available to users of the world-wide-web. No responsibility is accepted by this app/website for any losses that may arise from an inability to access resources on this app/website. Where a user finds a specific error in the coding of a web page, or where he/she considers a page to be in breach of accessibility or other published policies of this app/website, it is a condition of use of this site that the web team be notified via the Feedback form in order that appropriate action may be taken.

Governing laws

The terms and conditions of use of this app/website shall be governed by the laws of Scotland.


Development of this mobile app and website has been led and supported by the Effective Prescribing and Therapeutics Branch within Scottish Government, in partnership with the following organisations:

Digital Health and Care Institute: This app/website has been developed as part of the National Decision Support Programme funded by Scottish Government as a key objective within Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Strategy. The programme is delivered by the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI). The app and website have been built using the Builder toolset provided as part of DHI’s Right Decision Service.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Library Network: As part of the National Decision Support Programme, NHS GGC Knowledge Services provided knowledge management and content management expertise to support use of Right Decision Service tools to build this app and website.

Tactuum Ltd – Provide the technology and digital expertise to deliver Right Decision Service tools for the National Decision Support Programme.

The Scottish Government Effective Prescribing and Therapeutics Branch and the Digital Health and Care Institute would like to thank the many patients, carers and health and social care professionals who have contributed their time, experience and expertise to support development of this app and website.


The app is compliant with Android and Apple accessibility standards for native mobile apps. The website is compliant with WC3A 2.0 Standards

Browser and operating system compatibility

The app is supported by Android 4.4 or later and iOS 8.0 or later devices. The website is optimised for use on both desktop and mobile devices in the following browsers - IE9+, Chrome, Edge, Safari.