Medication information

Medication websites and information

1.  Rethink have an easy to read list of drug and other therapies.

2.  Mind has the same but there is a great deal of detail on medication. The date it was last revised is on the bottom of these pages.

3. used to be the electronic Medicines Compendium  (eMC) site. It contains up to date, easily accessible information about medicines licensed for use in the UK and contains two types of documents:

•    Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) which are a basic patient guide to essential information and are given out each time a medication is dispensed.

•    Summaries of Product Characteristics (SPCs) contain detailed information about the drug including the name, its composition, its pharmaceutical form (e.g. tablet, liquid), clinical information such as doses and frequency of side-effects, pharmacological properties (how it works on the body), pharmaceutical particulars (e.g. if it contains lactose or other fillers) and the date of revision for the SPC so you know how up to date it is.

SPCs are aimed at health professionals but if you find it hard to understand, most pharmacists will be willing to talk it through with you.
If you want help from your local pharmacist on drug information or the terminology used in SPCs, it may be helpful to ring first to ask when is the quietest time of day to call in and if there is a consulting room for privacy. It may be wise to take a print-out of the SPC as not all pharmacists have immediate access to

4. For visually impaired people this site is of more use:

5. The european medicines agency (EMEA) also has on its website all the PILs in other languages needed for European wide approval.

6. For people with learning disabilities either of the following sites may be more suitable: and

7. The Royal College of Psychiatrists hosts a comprehensive website which covers medication and other treatments. The date it was last revised is by the logo at the bottom of the page.

8. This site is supported by the United Kingdom Psychiatric Pharmacists Group, now part of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy. It is independent and covers questions that psychiatric pharmacists are frequently asked, as well as a comprehensive list of medications, their uses and side-effects.

9. The British National Formulary provides UK healthcare professionals with authoritative and practical information on the selection and clinical use of medicines. Unlike the sites above it covers all medicines used in the UK not just psychiatric medicines. You have to register to access the site but it’s a simple process and you don’t have to be a healthcare professional. However you may need help from your pharmacist if you are unfamiliar with the terminology. Unlike the summaries of product characteristics mentioned above, although the side-effects are listed in order of most common to most rare, no indication of how common or how rare is given. It is important to bear in mind that with all medication has a risk/benefit decision made by the prescriber which means that it won’t be prescribed unless a benefit is expected. It’s worth being aware of side-effects as sometimes practical steps can be taken to avoid them but some of the side-effects listed at the end are extremely rare but have to be mentioned even if they have only ever occurred once.
Most public libraries have a paperback copy of the BNF.

Your Feedback

1. The Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health aims to help specialist mental health services improve their practice. On this site you can see if your local Trust is a member and look at ways to feedback your experiences. Mind and Rethink are partners in the organisation.

2. The MHRA (Medicines Health Regulation Agency) set up a reporting system, originally using yellow cards, for healthcare professionals to feedback any suspected side-effects of drugs. This system is now open to members of the public and can be done online, although it may help to talk to your Doctor or Pharmacist first.

Taking Medicines

NICE guidance on Medicines Adherence and involving patients in decisions about prescribed medication.
Full guidance

Quick reference guide

Medicines management: Everybody’s Business - this document which comes from the New Ways of Working site is a leaflet to empower service users and carers to ask relevant questions and to help health professionals in a person-centred approach.

Clinical evidence sites

•    PatientPlus – hundreds of medical reference articles provided by Patient UK
•    Evidence based medicine – such as from Clinical Evidence, The Cochrane Library, etc.
•    Database of UK Clinical Guidelines – from NICE, SIGN, Clinical Knowledge Summaries, etc.
•    Medline – abstracts available from thousands of journals.
•  National Institute of Mental Health - transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illness through research