How to use consumer medicine information
Consumer medicine information (CMI) is designed to inform consumers about prescription and pharmacist-only medicines. The CMI gives you important facts to know before, during and after taking your medicine.
Read the CMI to ensure you get the best and safest use of the medicine, or to learn more about a medicine you’re already taking. For example, you can find out about its side effects and interactions. Take it with you to your doctor or pharmacist to discuss any questions about the medicine.
Where can you get your CMI?
- Find it using the NPS medicines search
- Ask your pharmacist or doctor to print it for you.
- Sometimes you can find it inside the packet or box.
- Phone Medicines Line on 1300 633 424 for the cost of a local call. You can ring Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, Eastern Standard Time.
- Contact the medical information department of the pharmaceutical company that made your medicine. You can find their number in the phone book.
‘My consumer medicine information leaflet is extremely valuable and I always check to see if any new medicine that I am prescribed is compatible with what I’m currently taking.’ (Anne, retiree)
Using your CMI
To ensure you have the right CMI, check that the brand name on the CMI (usually the largest text) exactly matches the brand of your medicine.
Always read the CMI before starting a new medicine. You may also want to refer to it while using the medicine — for example, to check if another medicine interacts with it, or what to do if you miss a dose.
All CMIs follow the same format, so it’s easy to find the information you need.
Keep it handy so you can refer to it later. Don’t use it to try and diagnose, treat, cure or prevent illness yourself.
What you will find in consumer medicine information (CMI)
Material has been adapted from: Pharmaceutical Health and Rational use of Medicines (PHARM) Consumer Sub-Committee (2000) Using Consumer Medicine Information (CMI): a guide for consumers and health professionals. Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, Canberra. Copyright, Commonwealth of Australia, used with permission.
CMIs are written by the pharmaceutical company that makes the medicine. The company has to follow government guidelines to ensure the information is accurate, unbiased and easy to understand.