Get the best from your medicines

There is extra help for those who want to get the best from their medicines – help that will prevent people being ill because they are not using their medicines properly and, which cut the amount of medicine wasted.

  • Ask your pharmacist for a medicines use review – A medicines use review is an appointment with a pharmacist to focus on how you are getting on with your medicines. It usually takes place in a private consultation area in your local pharmacy (chemist), where you regularly collect your prescriptions. It is an NHS service – you don't need to pay and it is offered in most pharmacies.
  • Checking your prescription – Sometimes the regular medicine you order will come in different packaging than the one you are used to getting. This is normal – the active ingredient in the medicine is the same, although the manufacturer and the packaging may be different. Be assured that all brands are equally effective, although the packaging and name may be different.

Managing your medicines

Your doctor or pharmacist may discuss synchronisation with you. This where medicines are arranged so that they all run out around the same time. This means that you can order and collect regular medicines at the same time. To find out more about synchronisation – download the flyer from the left-hand menu which you can complete or discuss with your local pharmacist.

Top tips to get the most from your medicines

  • Check what medicines you still have at home before re-ordering
  • If you are taking medicines for a long term illness, such as diabetes, asthma, epilepsy or arthritis, ask your pharmacist for a free medicines use review
  • If you are prescribed a new medicine to treat a long-term condition, a pharmacist can support you over several weeks to use the medicine safely and to best effect through a free new medicine service
  • Medicines are prescribed for you only – it's not safe to share them, or to take someone else's medicine
  • If you go into hospital, take your medicines with you
  • Bring back medicines to the pharmacy for safe disposal – not down the toilet or in the bin
  • Don't stockpile medicines; they can go out of date
  • Tell your GP or pharmacist if you have stopped taking any of your medicines
  • Check what medicines you still have at home before reordering
  • Think carefully before ticking all the boxes on your repeat prescription forms – only tick those you really need

Correct inhaler use

Do you suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? 

Have a look at the demonstration videos below to remind yourself how to use your inhaler so that the medicine goes right into your lungs.