Escape the daily routine - but don't forget your medicine

5 April 2012

The Easter long weekend and the April school holidays are a chance to escape the daily routine, but forgetting your usual medicines routine and not taking or storing medicines properly can have serious consequences.

Clinical adviser at NPS, Dr Danielle Stowasser, has some medicinewise tips for people taking medicines over the Easter break.

“If you’re preparing to go away, consider whether you have enough medicine for the duration of your holiday or repeat prescriptions that can be filled,” says Dr Stowasser.

“Also think about your medicines and how they will be stored while you’re travelling and find out whether any special conditions apply.

“Most medicines need to be stored under 25°C as exposure to heat and sunlight can cause chemical reactions in some medicines and reduce their effectiveness. If you’re going to be driving long distances or you’ll be somewhere without electricity (such as camping), make sure any medicines are kept cool and dry in refrigerated bags.”

Dr Stowasser also has some advice for those travelling overseas.

“Make sure you have the right documentation. When taking medicines into or out of Australia always keep your medicines in their original packaging with the labels intact, and it helps to carry a copy of your prescription/s and a letter from your doctor explaining what the medicines are for.”

While you’re away on holidays you might encounter a new pharmacist or doctor who is unfamiliar with your medicines. Different pharmacies may not carry your regular brand of medicine.

Dr Stowasser advises to be sure to know the active ingredient in your usual medicine so that you can get the right medicine — and ensure you’re not doubling up on doses.

To help you keep track of your medicines, and to ensure you always have your medicine details on hand, NPS produces a Medicines List where you can record everything you take, including prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines.

The free NPS Medicines List is available from your pharmacist, as a PDF download from the NPS website, and also as an app on your iPhone.

The NPS Medicines List iPhone app not only helps you keep track of the active ingredients and brand names of each medicine you take, but also reminds you when you are due to take your dose, and lets you record whether you took your medicine on time and if not, why not, which is useful information to share with your health professional.

Visit to find out more about how to get a Medicines List for yourself or for someone you care for, and how to make the most of it.


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