Where can I find reliable information about medicines?
You can find reliable information from many sources – for example package leaflets, medical professionals and medical authorities.
From the medicine package
- The medicine package has information such as the name, active substance and strength of the medicine written on it, as well as indication as to whether the medicine is a tablet, solution or ointment, for example.
- Over-the-counter medicines have the purpose and instructions of use written on the medicine package.
- Prescription medicines have a prescription label attached to them in the pharmacy that shows the instructions of use for the medicine written by the doctor.
- It is important to check the medicine’s use by date and potential storage instructions from the medicine package.
- The information on the medicine package has been provided by the pharmaceutical company and approved by the authorities.
From the package leaflet
- It is advisable to read the package leaflet inside the package before starting to use the medicine and keep it for reference for any questions that may later arise.
- It is particularly important to read the intended use of the medicine, the instructions for use and other considerations, such as potential contraindications for the use of the medicine.
- Some of the adverse reactions listed in the package leaflet are rare and only occur with few users.
- The leaflet also indicates the potential ways to prevent the adverse reactions.
- The package leaflet is written by the pharmaceutical company, which is why the leaflets of medicines that contain the same medicinal substance might differ slightly from one another.
- The package leaflet texts have also been approved by the authorities.
From healthcare professionals
- Your medicinal treatment is discussed with the doctor when a prescription medicine is prescribed for you.
- At pharmacies, a pharmacist will provide instruction and guidance on the correct and safe use of the medicine.
- Nurses will also provide patients with instruction and guidance on the use of the medicine.
- In cases of medicine-related poisoning, it is advisable to contact the Poison Information Centre, and in questions related to the use of medicines during pregnancy, the Teratology Information Service
- Healthcare professionals have appropriate training and reliable sources of information at their disposal based on which they are able to provide reliable and impartial information about medicines.
From the Internet
- A wealth of reliable and proper information can be found on the Internet, but also information that is questionable.
- The web pages of patient associations provide information about diseases and their treatment in a clear and understandable form.
- Product-specific information about medicines can be found from the web pages of pharmaceutical companies.
- Medicines-related information can also be found from the web pages maintained by the authorities, such as the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea and the Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela.
- The following matters should be considered when the reliability of the pages is assessed:o Who maintains the pages? o When have the pages been updated? o What is the information presented on the pages based on? Is the information based on research or similar reliable evidence or, for example, on a private individual’s personal experience?
- You can also assess the reliability of the information with the help of the DARTS checklist. You can open the ThingLink image in a new tab here. Read more about DARTS-checklist from here.
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