A new survey into the medicine-taking habits of Australians estimates that more than nine million people take a prescribed medicine every day, with eight million taking two or more prescribed medicines in a week.
The survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted by YouGov Galaxy last month also estimates that more than two million people take OTC medicine daily and more than seven million take a complementary medicine daily.
The findings have been released for this year’s Be Medicinewise Week (August 20-26), to raise awareness of the importance of safe and wise medicines use by families. This year’s theme of ‘Medicinewise families’ focuses on the information all families need about the types of medicines they are taking, administering medicines to children, or helping other family members understand their medicines.
“Each year more than 230,000 Australians are hospitalised with problems caused by their medicine, and if medicines aren’t used correctly, the results can be serious,”
NPS MedicineWise medical adviser Dr Jeannie Yoo said.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to taking medicines. We’re urging people to talk to their doctors and pharmacists about their medicines, and any medicines for children or other family members they’re caring for.”
NPS MedicineWise says the following steps should be to passed on to customers to keep medicinewise:
1. Ask questions to get the information you need about medicines and make better informed decisions.
2. Know it’s a medicine. Medicines don’t just come on prescription – they include OTC medicines from a pharmacy, supermarket or other store, as well as herbal remedies, vitamins and other supplements.
3. Know the active ingredient. Active ingredients are what make medicines work.
4. Always follow instructions from your doctor or pharmacist and read the labels and packaging of your medicines carefully. For more detailed information, read the Consumer Medicine Information leaflet.
5. Keep track of all medicines on paper or use the MedicineWisea app.