You need to understand the medicines you are taking. The Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) leaflet has information about your medicine. This will help you get the best out of your medicine and know what to do if you miss a dose. It will also help you know what to do if you have any side effects.
What is consumer medicine information?
A CMI leaflet gives you information on how to use your medicine safely and properly. For example, it tells you:
- how to take the medicine
- why it may have been prescribed for you
- potential side effects
- other medicines it may interact with
CMIs are available for:
- all prescription medicines
- all pharmacist-only medicines
- some non-prescription medicines
Where to find your CMI
You can get your medicine’s CMI by:
- checking the medicine packaging (it is usually inside)
- asking your pharmacist or doctor to print it for you
- searching in healthdirect's medicines section
- searching NPS MedicineWise Medicines finder
- contacting the maker of your medicine – the contact details are on the company’s Australian website
Using your CMI
Always make sure you have the right CMI. Check that the brand name on the CMI matches the brand name of your medicine.
Read the CMI of your new medicine, before taking any.
Keep all your CMIs in the one place so you can easily find them. You may also need to re-check some details while using the medicine.
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if there’s anything in the CMI that worries you.
Sometimes one medicine can affect how another medicine works. One medicine can change the side effects of another. This is called an ‘interaction’.
Interactions can also happen between medicines and certain foods or drink, including alcohol.
Known interactions are usually listed in your medicine’s CMI.
Before you start any new medicine, you should ask your doctor or pharmacist whether there are any likely interactions you need to know about.
Tell them about any other medicines (including any over-the-counter and complementary medicines) you are currently taking.
Is this medicine right for me?
If you have read the CMI and you aren’t sure whether the medicine is right for you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist immediately. You have a right to ask questions.
Where to get help
The best place to get help is from your doctor, hospital or pharmacist. If you have a life-threatening emergency, call triple zero (000).
Looking for more medicine information?
healthdirect’s medicines section allows you to search for medicines by brand name or active ingredient. It provides useful information about medicines such as their use, whether they are available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and product recalls.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: March 2018