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15 Oct 2015 | Press Release

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Be Medicinewise Week 2015: Adherence is a big medicines issue in Australia

Drugs Pharmaceuticals

Results from a recent survey conducted for NPS MedicineWise show that many Australian adults report they are not taking their prescription medicines as directed. A key message of Be Medicinewise Week 2015 is that when medicines become a regular part of life, it's time to find ways to be medicinewise and improve your health outcomes.


In the survey, respondents identified a number of reasons for failing to take their medicines as directed:

  • 26% said they were in a hurry and forgot
  • 21% said they didn't have the medicine with them when needed
  • 16% said they stopped because of side effects
  • 16% said they stopped because they were feeling better1

In previous research by NPS MedicineWise many Australians have self reported that they always, often or sometimes forget to take their medicines, or take less than instructed.2

Not taking medicines as prescribed for long-term conditions is associated with poorer health outcomes, higher health care costs and negative effects on work and lifestyle.

NPS MedicineWise Clinical Adviser Dr Andrew Boyden says, "Taking a medicine incorrectly could mean you end up with too little or too much of the medicine in your body, so you may not experience the full benefit of the medicine – or alternatively increase the risk of side effects.

"Many people do have difficulty taking all of their medicines at the right time and dose. If you are having trouble understanding or managing your medicines speak with your doctor or pharmacist. There are a range of tools and resources that can help you manage your medicines."

The free MedicineList+ smartphone app is one tool that can help, for example by setting reminders and keeping track of medications for yourself or someone you care for.

Start managing your medicines safely and wisely this Be Medicinewise Week. Five top tips are:

  • Take your medicines as directed
  • Don't suddenly stop taking your medicines
  • Get to know your medicines – learn the active ingredient to avoid double dosing
  • Give old medicines the boot – clean out your medicines cabinet regularly
  • Communication is key – talk to your health professional about all the medicines you are taking and let them know about any problems you having managing your medicines.

Further information is available in the Be Medicinewise Week fact sheet
"You're never too busy to be medicinewise".

Find out more information about this health campaign at www.nps.org.au/be-medicinewise-week.


  1. Online survey of 1,000 adults undertaken by Galaxy Research for NPS MedicineWise 17-20 September, 2015.
  2. NPS Annual Evaluation Report 2014.

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