Managing your medicines

According to NPS MedicineWise (formerly the National Prescribing Service), about 2 in 5 Australians aged 50 and older take five or more medicines every day.

Managing your meds tnIf you are one of these people, you are twice as likely to report a side-effect or other medicine-related problem, compared to people taking fewer medicines. The more medicines you take, the more likely you are to experience problems.

What you can do to reduce your risk

There are several ways that you can help reduce the risk of experiencing problems related to your medicines.

  • Know the names of your medicines, and what they look like.
  • Record details of your medicines on a medicines list.
  • Read the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) for your medicines, and keep this information handy for future reference.
  • Ask your pharmacist for advice on medication organisers, such as dosette boxes and blister packs.
  • Take out-of-date or unused medicines to your pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • Store medicines in a cool, dry place (i.e. not in the bathroom or near sinks), as heat and damp can damage most medicines.
  • Be aware of the dangerous interactions that grapefruit and alcohol can have with some medicines – read your medicine labels carefully and talk to your pharmacist about potential interactions.
  • See your doctor regularly, at least every 6–12 months, to have your medicines reviewed.

For more information about managing your medicines, visit

The information in this newsletter is not intended to replace medical advice from a health professional. Readers are urged to seek advice from a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Sources: NPS MedicineWise AJP

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