Good medicine management means taking the right dose of the right medicine at the right time, and avoiding inappropriate or unnecessary use of medicines. You can take steps to practice good medicine management – for yourself or a person you care for – and reduce the risk of medicine-related problems.
Ask for a medicines review
It is important to have your medicines reviewed regularly, especially if you are an older person taking multiple medicines. A medicines review can help improve your treatment and prevent medicine-related problems.
On the day of the review, have all the medicines you are taking available for the doctor or pharmacist, including prescription medicines, non-prescription or over-the-counter medicines (such as paracetamol or ibuprofen), and medicines bought at the supermarket or health food store (such as vitamins or supplements).1 If you have an up-to-date list of all of your medicines, show it to the doctor or pharmacist.
When your doctor or pharmacist reviews your medicines, they will gather information about all your medicines, any problems you are having with your medicines, your current health and your treatment goals. Based on this information, your doctor or pharmacist may recommend changes to your medicines (such as stopping a medicine or changing the dose) and work with you to agree on a management plan for your medicines. A medicines review is also a good opportunity to learn more about your medicines and ask any questions you may have.
Keep a list of your medicines
An up-to-date medicines list is helpful to keep track of all the medicines you are taking and other important information such as what a medicine is for, the dose, when and how to take it, and when you started.
A medicines list is also useful to take to appointments with doctors or other healthcare professionals such as dentists, so that everyone involved in your health care knows all the medicines you are taking. This list also provides vital information about your medicines in the case of an emergency.
When creating a medicines list, it is important that you record all of the medicines you are using including prescription, non-prescription (over-the-counter), vitamins and minerals, herbal and natural medicines. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you create your medicines list or answer any questions you may have.
There are a number of resources available to help you create a medicines list that suits your needs. NPS MedicineWise offers two types of medicines lists:
- A paper medicines list you can fill in and carry
- the MedicineWise smartphone app that you can use on your phone.
Find out more about medicines lists and about the MedicineWise app.