A Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) leaflet gives you important information about your medication. CMIs are available for any medication prescribed by your doctor or for medication available only from a pharmacy. CMIs are not available for medications sold generally through other outlets such as supermarkets.
Reading the CMI will help you to understand how to safely take your medication and will give you information about possible side effects and interactions with other substances.
You can search for CMIs online, or you can ask your pharmacist to print a copy.
Purpose of a CMI leaflet
A CMI is designed to give you accurate information about the safety of your medication and how best to take it. The pharmaceutical company that makes the medication writes the CMI and must follow government guidelines. This makes sure that the information is accurate and is written using language that consumers can understand.
Image from: Using Consumer Medicine Information (CMI): a guide for consumers and health professionals. Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, Canberra: 2000.
Using a CMI leaflet
Make sure you have the correct CMI for your medication. Some medication is available in different formulations and each will have its own CMI. The exact brand name is written on the top of the leaflet in large letters and should match the brand name on the box.
Read the CMI before you begin taking your medication so you are well prepared. You may also refer to the CMI during treatment to check for side effects and possible interactions with other medications or substances, such as alcohol. You can also find out what to do if you miss a dose.
You should speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medication or how to read the CMI. Do not vary your dose or make treatment decisions based on your own reading of the CMI.
All CMIs are set out in the same way and include information such as:
- brand name – appears at the top in large letters
- active ingredient – the main ingredient in the medication appears under the brand name
- all ingredients of the medication, including non-active ingredients (such as binders or tablet coatings)
- contact details for the manufacturer
- how to take the medication – including what to do if you take too much or miss a dose
- information to consider before you use the medication – including possible interactions with other medication or substances
- safe storage and disposal information
- what can happen while you are taking the medication – including side effects
- what the medication is used for
- contraindications – certain reasons when not to take a medication (for example, some medication is not recommended for pregnant women or children under a certain age). Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns.
Finding a CMI leaflet
You can find the CMI for your medication in a number of ways, including:
- Search for a CMI leaflet on Healthdirect.
- Ask your pharmacist to print a copy for you.
- Check inside the medication box.
- Contact the pharmaceutical company that made the medication.
- Call Medicines Line (Australia) on 1300 MEDICINE (633 424) for information on prescription medication and over-the-counter or complementary medicines.
- Search and download CMIs for prescription medication and pharmacy-only medication from NPS MedicineWise Medicine .
- Search and download CMIs for prescription medication from the Australian Therapeutic Goods .
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Medicines Line (Australia) Tel. 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) – for information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Better Health Channel
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