Working with your healthcare provider to make a decision about a medicine
There can be a lot of information to absorb when faced with the possibility of taking a new medicine.
- Take your time. In many cases you won't have to make a decision immediately, so ask your health professional
whether you have time to think things over. If you are not sure what to do, arrange to come back in a few days when you've done some research and had time to think about it.
- Take notes when talking to your health professional.
- Weigh up your options. Once you have information about the benefits and risks of your treatment options,
think about how they compare and which is best for you.
Five steps to be medicinewise
- Ask questions to get the information you need about medicines and make better informed decisions. (See card 2 for questions.)
- 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 use our Medicine Finder to search for the CMI for your medicine.
- 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.
Remember, always talk over any decisions about medicines with your health professional.