NPS releases ‘medicinewise choices’ to help Australians be medicinewise

31 January 2011

To help people make the best decisions about their medicines—from what to consider before starting a new medicine to understanding clinical trials—NPS has developed a series of free online learning modules for consumers.

Released as part of Be Medicinewise Week, the Medicinewise Choices modules provide information and pointers to help people be actively involved in their treatment decisions.

NPS clinical adviser, Dr Danielle Stowasser, says anyone starting a new medicine or who has been taking medicines for a while and wants to know about other options will benefit from the Medicinewise Choices series.

“Medicinewise Choices is about giving people the skills they need to play an active role in their own health care and make informed decisions about their medicines. It’s not enough to simply rely on your doctor or pharmacist, or get your information from websites that may not be accurate or independent.”

The interactive modules cover a range of medicines issues with fictional case studies guiding you through the types of medicines decisions you may encounter. Topics are designed to help people weigh up their medicines choices—considering both benefits and risks. Issues range from why some medicines don’t mix well together, to clinical trials and how medicines are approved for use.

A key component of Medicinewise Choices is how to find and assess reliable information sources, particularly online where advice may be driven by commercial interests, out-dated or not supported by evidence.

“The internet has empowered us all with unlimited access to information about medicines and conditions, but relying on inaccurate or misleading sources can be dangerous,” Dr Stowasser said.

“Medicinewise Choices will help you discern between reliable and questionable sources, so you can use information from your own research to have informed discussions with your health professionals.”

The Medicinewise Choices modules are available for free at www.nps.org.au/medicinewisechoices

ENDS

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.