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Being an informed patient

Being as informed as you can be about your health and the medications you are prescribed to treat any conditions you may have is really important. 

From our experience we can offer some guidance around how to be a well informed patient.

  • Document your medical history by doing things like making a list of the medicines you take, as well as information about vaccinations, and allergies, and share this with any healthcare professional you visit to help them provide the most appropriate treatment for you.

  • Think about including important information from your family's medical history - have any close relatives had conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or were they intolerant to certain medicines?

  • It’s really important to inform your doctor if you have any allergies to medications, if you are pregnant, have plans to become pregnant, or if you are breast feeding.

  • It’s your health and it’s ok to ask about possible side effects for your medicines, that’s something to understand and make a note of. You should inform your doctor if you think you may have experienced an adverse reaction to one of your medications in the past.

Understanding your Patient Information Leaflet

Within the original packaging of all regulated medicines, you will find an important document called the Patient Information Leaflet, or PIL. We recommend you read this document carefully and keep it for future reference.

The Patient Information Leaflet gives you key bits of information to help you get the desired results from your medicine. If for any reason your medicine has not come with this leaflet, you can ask for one from your pharmacist. PILs are also available to download from Our Medicines list.

Reading the Patient Information Leaflet is designed to supplement – not replace – discussions with your doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare professional about any medication you are about to take.

Styles of Patient Information Leaflet will vary from company to company, but generally they have to include the information highlighted on the example below.

An example of a Patient Information Leaflet

Both pages of an example Patient Information Leaflet can be seen below.

Treatment questions

Please note that the content we’ve provided on this website is only for information. We’re not legally allowed to give advice on your personal medical situation. So, if you’ve got questions about something specific to do with your own health it’s always best to speak to your doctor.

Obviously everyone’s individual health needs are different and so a face-to-face discussion with a healthcare professional will mean you get the best guidance available and the most suitable outcome for your unique set of circumstances.

You can of course use any of the information you’ve found on our website as a starting point for discussion when you meet with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.