Using your regular medicines in the times of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Wondering what to do about your regular medicines amid rising concerns about coronavirus?

A new website article by NPS MedicineWise about using your regular medicines in the times of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) explains that while we don’t know everything about this illness, we do know that there are important basic principles to remember about medicines to help you and your family members get the most out of your medicines, safely.

“Medicines play an important role in treating conditions and diseases. They help people to manage long-term conditions and to manage symptoms of short-term illnesses,” the article says.

“However, there is no need to stockpile large quantities of medicines you or your family take. Having much more than a month’s supply of medicines is generally not necessary and comes with extra costs and medicine safety risks.”

Some of the costs and risks of buying and storing more medicines than you need include:

  • The medicines, doses and strengths of medicines you need can change over time. Medicines you stockpile now may not be needed for you later and may go to waste.
  • Medicines expire. If you keep too many at home, they may sit in your cupboard for a long time, and before you know it, they may have passed their expiry date. 
  • Make sure you know the active ingredient in the medicines you are taking. Having multiple packs at home containing the same medicine may cause confusion and make it more likely to accidentally double dose on a medicine, which can be harmful. 
  • Having more medicines in the house increases the risk of them falling into the wrong hands. A child or pet may accidentally take them and have unwanted or dangerous side effects. 
  • Buying extra medicines can involve extra financial costs. NPS MedicineWise has information on keeping your medicine costs down.

    NPS MedicineWise is urging people to talk to their GPs or pharmacists if they have questions about their medicines or the amount they need. People can also call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 633 424 (1300 MEDICINE) with questions about prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines. Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm AEST (excluding NSW public holidays).

    Read more about being medicinewise during the COVID-19 outbreak at nps.org.au/coronavirus

     

    Media contact

    Matthew Harris, NPS MedicineWise Communications & PR adviser: (02) 8217 9229, 0419 618 365 or [email protected]

    Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines, medical tests and other health technologies. We receive funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.