The latest edition of MedicinesTalk, published by NPS, looks at how to find help with your medicines, how to identify the same medicines being sold under different brands, and which health professionals besides your doctor can prescribe medicines.
Help when you need it
Your doctor and pharmacists are the best sources of information about your health and medicine issues, but there may be times that you can't contact them or you need answers quickly. This article talks about a number of telephone information services that can give you guidance about a range of issues and help you identify if a problem needs professional help. Some of these include:
Medicines Line – for information about all types of medicines: 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424).
Adverse Medicines Events Line – to report side effects and problems with medicines: 1300 134 237
After hours GP helpline – if you can't contact your usual GP after hours: 1800 022 222
Same medicine – different brand
Many medicines are manufactured and sold under different brand names. This means that sometimes you may be offered a different brand of medicine by your pharmacist. This article explains how different brands of a medicine work the same way as they each have the same active ingredient (the chemical in a medicine that makes it work).
The article also covers how different brands may look different, why most people can change brands without problem but in some circumstances your doctor may advise you to stick to a certain brand, and how to find out whether one medicine of a certain brand is the same as another.
Who else can prescribe medicines?
Aside from your doctor, other health professionals, including dentists, optometrists, midwives and nurse practitioners can also prescribe some medicines in certain circumstances. The article outlines how the medicines different health professionals can prescribe depends on the specialist training and additional qualifications they have done, and may also differ depending on the state or territory in which you live. The article also talks about how when a number of health professionals are involved in your care, it's important that all are aware of the medicines you are taking. The easiest way to do this is for you to keep an up-to-date medicines list, making sure you include all your prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines.
To read the full articles, and others, go to www.nps.org.au/consumers/publications/medicines_talk
For more information about your medicines, call the Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424). For verbal translation assistance call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.