Combination medicines

Fixed-dose combination medicines

Find reliable independent health and treatment information about combination medicines written by Australian experts. This includes resources for consumers and health professionals.

About combination medicines

Combination medicines can contain two or more active ingredients. The active ingredient is the chemical that makes the medicine work.

Combination medicines are available that treat:

  • the same condition (e.g. type 2 diabetes)
  • different symptoms of a condition (e.g. combination cough and cold medicines)
  • two different conditions (e.g. type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol).

There are a number of reasons why some medicines are available as combinations.

While combination medicines have advantages, you also need to be aware of the potential disadvantages.

Find out more

For health professionals  

Switching patients from individual medicines to fixed-dose combination medicines must be done judiciously to ensure the benefits outweigh the risks. Combination medicines (or fixed-dose combination medicines) are medicines containing two or more active components in fixed proportions in a single dosage form, or several medications in fixed combination to be taken together, presented in composite packaging (co-pack). In some situations fixed-dose combination medicines can help patients adhere to treatment and provide better health outcomes. Ultimately prescribers need to investigate and address the causes of non-adherence.

Clinical information

The information below is intended for health professionals. It uses the latest guidelines and evidence to help health professionals further understand the place of combination medicines in treatment. It also includes resources, tools and additional information for patients and carers.

Related information - combination medicines


31 May 2016 More than one type of medicine may be necessary to control blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. View our table of combination medicines used to control blood sugar levels.
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
01 Dec 2015 Guidelines recommend a stepwise approach to management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This article summarises first-, second- and third-line options, and when to use insulin and fixed-dose combinations.
For health professionals (Condition)
25 Feb 2015 Blood pressure lowering medicine should be adjusted and combined with a stepwise approach for treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension). Read more.
30 Jul 2014 Combination cough and cold medicines are generally not recommended for use while you are breastfeeding. Read more.
30 Apr 2014 Asthma combination medicines combine two active ingredients - a preventer medicine and a symptom controller medicine - and can be used for the long-term management of asthma symptoms. Read more
04 Mar 2014 Learn about the different types of medicines and how they are approved for sale. Find information on consumer medicines information (CMI) leaflets.
20 Dec 2013 What are fixed-dose combination medicines (FDCs), and what forms do they come in? Information for health professionals
20 Dec 2013 Tools and resources including a video about using fixed-dose combination medicines
20 Dec 2013 Learn more about different combination medicines and why you should know the active ingredients.
20 Dec 2013 Combination medicines have advantages and some disadvantages that you should be aware of.