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Medicines in the home

There are some everyday medicines that you can stock up on and keep handy in your home. For example, paracetamol, anti-histamine for allergies or insect bites, a thermometer and oral rehydration salts for diarrhoea or vomiting.

Remember to keep these medicines together in a safe place, out of the reach of children, to help you and your family deal with a range of minor illnesses.

Please read the instructions and cautions on all medicines before you decide to use them and ask a pharmacist for advice if in doubt.

Getting the most from your medicines

  • Keep medicines in a cool dark place, away from direct heat or light sources.
  • Do not keep medicines in the bathroom (even in a cabinet) as they can become hot, humid or damp.
  • Always read the patient information leaflet or labels. Keep medicines well out of the reach of children.
  • Keep medicines in their original container, so that you know what the medicine is, how to take it, any extra instructions and the expiry date.
  • Only order the medicines you actually need - tick the repeat slip to order only what you need and tell the doctor or pharmacist if you have stopped taking any medicine.
  • Take all your medicines with you if you go into hospital, including any vitamins or health supplements you buy over the counter.
  • If you have medicines that you don't need, take them to your pharmacy and they will dispose of them safely. Don't hold onto old medicines - prescribed medicine is intended for a particular purpose for a particular person and shouldn't be shared, and all medicine has a use by date.

For further information on medicines and what to expect from your local pharmacy team, please visit the NHS website.


There are a number of reasons why people might get prescriptions for free, such as reaching the age of 60, or having a specified medical condition or disability which means you are eligible for an exemption certificate. 

Your pharmacist or surgery can help you find out about any help that is available for paying prescription fees. Please discuss a "prepayment certificate" with your pharmacist if you pay for your prescriptions and have to have regular prescriptions as you may be able to save money.

If you, or someone you care for, use the same medicines regularly, you may not need to get a new prescription every time you need more medicine. This service is called "repeat dispensing" and means you won't have to visit the surgery or make an appointment to see the doctor or practice nurse every time you need more medicine.

A "Medicines Use Review" is a “medicines checkup” appointment with a pharmacist to focus on how you are getting on with your medicine. It usually takes place in your local pharmacy. It is an NHS service - you don't need to pay for it.

The meeting is to:

  • Help you to find out more about the medicines you are taking
  • Pick up any problems you are having with your medicines
  • Improve the effectiveness of your medicines - there may be easier ways to take them or you may find you need fewer medicines than before.
  • Get better value for the NHS - making sure that your medicines are right for you helps prevent unnecessary waste.

You can find your nearest pharmacy on the NHS website.