Who decides what medication I need to take?

This should be a joint decision between you and your doctor. If you are too ill to take part in a discussion about medication, or if you just don't want to, then a relative or friend can get involved on your behalf.

What if I don't want to take medication?

In most cases, you don't have to take the medication recommended by your doctor. The only exception is if you are being treated under a section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA). This law gives your doctor the authority to make decisions about your treatment for you.

The reason your doctor prescribes medication is to help manage the symptoms of your illness. You will only be offered medication that has been shown to be safe and effective If you don't take the medication that your doctor has prescribed, there is a risk that you might become more unwell, and have to spend more time in hospital.

How do I find out if there are any side effects of the medication I've been prescribed?

You should talk to your doctor about this or ask for an information leaflet. If you are being treated in hospital, you can also speak to the ward pharmacist.

How long do the side effects of medication last?

It depends on the medication.  Some side effects are worse at the start and then disappear.  Some side effects only develop if you have been taking medication for a long time. Your doctor may suggest a change of medication if the side effects do not go away.

How can I get a reduction in the medication I have been prescribed?

In some cases, your dose of medication may be reduced by a small amount, without affecting how well it works.  It depends on the medicine, your condition and the dose you have been recommended. You should always talk to your doctor about this.

You can find a series of information leaflets about medication here

Here's a short film in which our Medical Director talks about medication.

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