How to be medicinewise

Being medicinewise will help you ask questions about medicines and medical tests, and where to get trusted information. Having the right information will help you make better health decisions for you and those you care for.

5 steps to being medicinewise

The Medicinewise Handbook

Various medicine bottles

We all take medicines, but too often we take them for granted. Download The Medicinewise Handbook and learn how to be medicinewise.

  • Ask questions to get the information you need about medicines and make better informed decisions. Read about questions to ask.
  • Know it’s a medicine. Medicines don’t just come on prescription — they include over-the-counter medicines from a pharmacy, supermarket or other store, as well as herbal remedies, vitamins and other supplements. Read more about what a medicine is.
  • Know the active ingredient. Active ingredients are what make your medicines work. If your pharmacist offers you an alternative brand of a prescription medicine you can be sure it will work the same way as your usual medicine. Learn more about the active ingredient and where to find it.
  • Always follow instructions from your doctor or pharmacist and read the labels and packaging of your medicines carefully. For more detailed information, read the consumer medicine information (CMI) which is available for prescription and pharmacist-only medicines — ask your pharmacist or search for one here.
  • Keep track of all your medicines by using an NPS Medicines List. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can help you fill it in. Keep your Medicines List with you, especially on visits to your doctor, pharmacist or to the hospital.

Making wise choices

Picture of scales

Being medicinewise starts with making good choices about medicines. Sometimes it is very clear that you need a particular medicine, but at other times the decision is not so straight forward. Making wise choices about medicines will help you ask questions and work with your health professional to make the best decision for you.

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Buying medicines

Pharmacist in pharmacy

Medicine costs can add up, particularly if you take several medicines. So it’s important to know how to keep your medicine costs down without compromising your health. Also, by understanding your brand choices you'll know whether an alternative brand of your medicine is a good option for you. Learn more about being medicinewise when buying your medicines.

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