NPS MedicineWise urges seniors to get wise about their medicines

20 March 2014

This NSW Seniors Week (15-23 March), NPS MedicineWise is urging older Australians to take an active role in their health care and talk to their health professional about medicines as they age.

NPS MedicineWise Design & Development Manager, Ms Aine Heaney, says older people face a higher risk of adverse medicines events, with one in three unplanned hospital admissions involving older Australians caused by problems with medicines.

“Medicines are an essential component of care for older people, but as we age taking medicines can become a double-edged sword for our health,” says Ms Heaney.

“Some of the changes in the body that commonly occur with ageing, like decreases in kidney function, can increase the chance of you experiencing side effects and other problems with medicines.

“Older people are also more likely to have multiple medical conditions and take several medicines, which can all play a part in how medicines affect you.”

Older Australians and their carers are encouraged to learn more about their medicines, ask questions, and work with their health professionals to make the best decisions about their health.

“You know your own health problems, values and priorities better than anyone else, so it's important to discuss your needs and concerns about medicines and what you want to get out of treatment,” she says.

“Talking to a health professional about medicines can help to prevent and detect side effects, potentially harmful medicine interactions, and medicine mistakes. They can also assist you in managing your medicines and deciding on the best treatment.”

With more and more seniors choosing to search for information on the internet, NPS MedicineWise has developed a comprehensive suite of online resources at

It includes a range of information and videos for older people and their carers on the following topics:

  • Understanding medicine safety and ageing
  • Recognising how health issues can add to medicine problems
  • Knowing about the risks of taking multiple medicines
  • Recognising when medicine problems occur and how to prevent them
  • Discussing your medicines with a health professional
  • Knowing when or how to stop medicines, and

Having a medicines review.

Older Australians who take one or more medicines may also like to download the new MedicineList+ app for smartphones.

The free app is available for both Android and iOS devices, and is designed to help you manage your medicines and record why you’re taking them, as well as record other important health information including measurement and test results. It’s capable of keeping track of more than one person’s medicines list, which can be very handy for people who care for older family members. To find out more visit

To access the new online resources visit


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

If you are a journalist seeking comment on a story or more information on any of our programs or campaigns please contact one of our media advisers: Stephanie Childs on 02 8217 8667 (during office hours) or call the NPS MedicineWise media phone on 0419 618 365 (for urgent media requests outside of office hours). If your enquiry is not urgent you can also send us an email.