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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