Internet

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Where to look on the internet to find information about medicines

Some people use the internet to find information about the medicine their family member is taking. Not all the information on the internet is from a trusted place.

Check that the information you read on the internet is up to date and hosted by a trusted group, such as the Australian Government or a well-known support group. Any claims made about a medicine or a treatment should be supported by scientific studies.

Two trusted websites to visit are:

Alzheimer’s Australia

  • This website has help sheets about common medicines used to treat dementia.
  • All help sheets on the Alzheimer’s Australia website can be ordered in other languages.
fightdementia

The National Prescribing Service

  • This website has information about all medicines and tips on how to take the right medicine at the right time.
  • Some medicine information is available on this website in other languages.

nps

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Consumer Medicine Information sheet

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Ask for a Consumer Medicine Information sheet

Consumer Medicine Information sheets are often provided with medicines from the local pharmacist. They are only available in English.

Consumer Medicine Information Sheet
Consumer Medicine Information Sheet (Reproduced with permission from permission from NPS MedicineWise)
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Useful Tip

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Useful Tip

An up to date list of your family member’s medicines is useful to take to hospital appointments and to other health care providers, such as dentists and when your family member goes on holiday. If your family member is taking other medicines not prescribed by the doctor, such as medicines they have bought from the pharmacy, supermarket or health store, for example vitamins, check that these medicines are also written on the list. Please also write down if your family member has any allergies to medicines. Keep a copy of this list in your family member’s wallet or bag and another copy with you.

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Medicine List

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Ask for a medicine list

A list of all the medicines your family member is taking can be given to you by their regular pharmacist. This list includes information about:

  • The generic and brand name of each medicine
  • What each medicine is used for
  • The strength of each medicine
  • How much medicine needs to be taken each day
  • Any special instructions, for example some medicines need to be taken before or after food
  • Possible side effects to look out for
  • What to do if a medicine dose is missed
  • When your family member needs to go back to the doctor for a check-up before taking more of the medicine
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Medicine check

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Ask for a medicine check

The easiest way for you to get all the information you need about your family member’s medicines is to book an appointment with their pharmacist for a medicine check. On the day of the appointment bring with you all the medicine your family member is taking, including medicines they have bought at the supermarket or health food store.

The pharmacist can explain to you and your family member what each medicine is used for and when each should be taken. The pharmacist can also answer other questions you may have about your family member’s medicines.

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Family Member’s Pharmacist

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Talk with your family member’s local pharmacist

Pharmacists are a useful source of information about medicines. It is important to always go to the same pharmacy so that you and your family member can get to know the pharmacist.

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Family Member’s Doctor

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Talk with your family member’s doctor.

You can ask your family member’s doctor (GP and/or specialist) any questions you have about medicines.

  • Go with your family member when they visit their doctor and let the doctor know that you are helping to look after their medicines.
  • Take your family member’s medicine list with you to every doctor’s visit and ask them to let you know about any changes to their medicine.
  • If your family member has had their medicines changed, ask for the changes to be written down. Go through this information with your family member when you are back home.
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Medication Information

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How to get information about your family member’s medicines.

Older people often have more than one illness, so your family member might need quite a few medicines each day. There are several ways to find out about their medicines.

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Introduction

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The information in this guide is useful if the person you are caring for has been told they have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are not able to remember things as well as before. Over time their memory will get worse. They may get easily confused about simple things such as what time they should take their medicines or what their medicines are for. They may forget what their doctor or pharmacist told them about their medicines. It will be hard for them to learn how to do new things. These changes happen because part of their brain has been damaged by disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. In the rest of this guide only the word dementia will be used.

If you are looking after someone with dementia, you will need to think about how you can help them to do some things in a different way, so that they can still take their medicines safely. This guide will give you some ideas that might help your family member keep taking the right medicines at the right time.

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