Revised: 1 July 2013
All medicines can cause adverse reactions in some people. Adverse reactions are also called side-effects or adverse effects. The term adverse event is used if it is not certain that the medicine caused the reaction.
Some adverse reactions can be predicted. Many reactions get better either with continued use of the medicine or after stopping the medicine. However, unexpected reactions can occur and in rare instances, can be serious for example some allergic reactions.
It is also possible to experience adverse events after stopping a medicine.
Before you start to use any medicine make sure you understand the possible adverse reactions. You can find this information by talking to your healthcare professional. Sometimes the medicine contains a package insert with more information.
Other sources of information included:
If you have trouble understanding the information in these sources your healthcare professional can help you.
If you are experiencing an adverse event with your medicine, you should contact your doctor. Your doctor will tell you want to do.
If your doctor is unavailable your pharmacist or nurse can also advise you.
Additional advice is available from Healthline on 0800 611 116
If you develop symptoms of allergy such as swollen lips or tongue, wheezing or difficulty breathing, you must seek medical attention immediately from your doctor or accident and emergency at your nearest hospital.
You can also report any adverse events or suspicions of adverse reactions to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) in Dunedin. It is helpful if you can include as much information as possible about any medicines and healthcare products you may be taking. It can also be helpful if you give CARM permission to contact your doctor for further information.
Your reports are important to CARM and Medsafe. They help us identify safety concerns with medicines and improve the safe use of medicines.