Planning for a change: When my medicines may be causing my side effects

You and your doctor have decided to change a medicine that may be causing certain side effects like forgetfulness or feeling unsteady. These are sometimes called anticholinergic (an-tee-koh-li-nur-jik) side effects.

Other anticholinergic side effects can include:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Feeling unsteady
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision, dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Trouble urinating

Use this resource to help you and your doctor plan any medicine changes and to keep track of how you are feeling.


What’s involved in making changes to my medicine?

Make a plan with your doctor and pharmacist

  • With your doctor, work out clear steps for changing your medicine.
  • Most of the time, your medicine dose will be reduced slowly. This can take several weeks or even months.
  • Your pharmacist can help to set up the correct dose to take each day or week.

Check how you are feeling

  • You may need to see your doctor more often while you make changes. This is to see how you are going and talk about any new problems you may be having.
  • Between visits, write down how you feel. Do you have any new symptoms? How are you coping with your other health conditions? Take this list to your next doctor’s appointment so you can talk about what is going on.

Find other ways to manage your health

  • Ask your doctor for advice about other treatments or things you can try to keep you feeling well as you make changes to your medicine.

Know when you need help

  • It can be worrying when your medicines are changed. Ask your doctor if there are any symptoms that need urgent care and where to go for help.

For more information

NPS MedicineWise

  • Side effects from your medicines? 5 questions to ask
  • Exploring my options: When my medicines may be causing side effects
  • How a medicines review can help you get the most from your medicines

Planning for a change action plan

Date published : 1 October 2021


Download the original pdf of this article