Help and advice
Help and advice
Where to find advice
For any medicine you have been prescribed, your doctor or local pharmacist are the best people to provide help and advice. Other sources of advice include:
- Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) – patient-friendly leaflets available for every prescription medicine in Australia. You can ask your pharmacist or doctor to print a CMI with your next prescription. They’re free!
- NPS Better choices, Better health – is a government-funded service which offers a range of information on medicines at www.nps.org.au
- Health consumer organisations or disease support organisations – provide useful information and support on specific diseases. A good place to start is www.healthinsite.gov.au
Simple printed advice with every prescription medicine
Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) is available for every prescription medicine in Australia. The CMI is a leaflet that provides important information to consider before, during and after you finish a course of treatment. It will help you know exactly what you are taking and what to expect when you take it. The CMI is carefully prepared by The Australian Medicines Industry in a standardised, easy-to-follow format.
The CMI provides information on:
- the name of the medicine
- the names of the active ingredients in the medicine, as well as any inactive ingredients
- the type of medicine, e.g. tablet, injection, cream or other
- what the medicine is used for
- how it works
- how to use the medicine properly
- warnings and precautions – such as when not to take the medicine
- any interactions the medicine might have with other medicines or food
- possible unwanted side effects
- what to do in the case of an overdose
- how to store the medicine properly
- the manufacturer’s name and address
- the date the CMI was last updated.
The first time you take a new medicine
When your medicine is dispensed by your pharmacist they will check if this is the first time you have been prescribed the medicine. If it is, they will usually access the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) database on their computer and print a copy for you to take home. All pharmacists are able to print a copy of any CMI when they dispense your medicine.
Before taking any new prescription medicine, you should always read the CMI. If anything in the leaflet is unclear, you can always ask your pharmacist or doctor to explain what you have read.
If for any reason your pharmacist doesn’t print you a CMI or if you misplace it, you can always ask for another copy. Alternatively you can download it yourself free-of-charge online at selective Australian websites.
Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) can be found at the following Australian websites:
Old or expired medicines
You may have some medicines that have been sitting in your fridge or medicine cabinet for a long time, or you may have finished a course of treatment and still have some medicine left over. If you are in this position and are not sure of how to dispose of your unwanted medicine, visit the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project online at www.returnmed.com.au.
The RUM project will show you the safest and most environmentally friendly way to dispose of your unwanted medicine. Alternatively, you can take any expired or unused medicines to the pharmacy so they can dispose of the medicine correctly.