BMW_SM_Facebook_v3_HRAustralians are encouraged to be “medicinewise at all ages & life stages” during Be MedicineWise Week, October 12-18, 2015.

The campaign kicked-off today with a focus on pregnancy and breastfeeding, after a recent NPS Medicine Wise survey of Australian women who were pregnant or had a child 11 years or younger revealed 33 per cent claimed to have taken prescription medicine during pregnancy, while another 33 per cent said they had taken over-the-counter (OTC) medicine while pregnant[1] (AJP 2015).

Deciding to use any medicine involves understanding the purpose of the medication and its potential side-effects, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as it may cause harm to your baby in several ways.

Some medicines have the potential to interfere with the baby’s development, possibly damaging the placenta and inciting premature labour.

According to NPS MedicineWise call-line pharmacists, pregnant women expressed concerns about cold and flu medicines, hayfever medications and anti-depressants. This was in contrast to women breastfeeding, who raised concerns over hayfever medications, cough and cold medicines and those that treat pain and fever.

To be medicinewise during pregnancy, be sure to ask your local pharmacist:

  • What is the medicine for?
  • How do I use or take this medicine correctly?
  • What are the possible side-effects for my baby and I, and what can I do about them? What should or shouldn’t I do while taking this medicine?

Before deciding to use a medicine, it’s vital to seek professional advice by:

  • Visiting your local pharmacist;
  • Visiting your doctor or midwife;
  • Reading the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) brochure; and
  • Phoning the NPS Medicines Line on 1300 633 424.

[1] AJP, (2015). Mums the focus of Be Medicinewise Week: Day One. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Oct. 2015].