Review your medications

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

While the start of a new year is the perfect time to review your medications, you can and should get a medication review when you think you need one. If you need some assistance you could sign up for a Home Medicines Review, a Medscheck or make an appointment with your GP.

Home medicines review

If you take or use five or more medications regardless of what they are treating and haven’t had a review in the last two years you are eligible for a Home Medicines Review. A specially trained pharmacist will review your medications for possible unwanted effects and give you extra information on your medications at a home visit. You can request this service through your doctor who can make the referral.


Medschecks are a shorter interview you can have with your pharmacist at the pharmacy. These free services will give you and your GP valuable feedback on your medications.


Here is a list of possible medication side-effects or diabetes-related event checklist for you to start the audit process. Do you experience any of these? Copy down any that apply to you.

Nausea/ vomiting/

Change in appetite

Constipation Diarrhoea/ loose motions Irregular or fast heartbeat
Change in blood pressure Change in urine or bowel motion colour Insomnia Increase in urination
Low blood glucose events (hypos) Dramatic change in your diet Gut pain or discomfort Reflux or persistent burping
Unexplained tiredness Depression/ Distress Swelling of ankles Shortness of breath at rest
Persistent cold or coughing Rash/ dryness of skin Dry mouth or eyes Confusion
Pain on urination Genital pain Recurring thrush Rising glucose levels
Yellowing of skin Weight gain Unexplained muscle pain Thirst

If any of the above apply you may want to book an appointment with your GP for a diabetes medication review.  Most times the unwanted effects of medications start with the medication or soon after. But it is possible that these unwanted effects can start when something else changes with your body functions, such as your kidney function or if you have started taking another medication. Other things such as a heart attack,or stroke or change in mobility also change the way medications work in your body.

Sick days and hospital visits

It may be a good time to ask your GP what to do with your medication on sick days and if you are planning a medical procedure.

Annual cycle of care

Diabetes changes over time and it’s important to do an annual cycle of care to identify any health concerns early and discuss the best treatment with your GP and diabetes health professionals. At this check up you can discuss your medications to make sure you are on the right ones for you. It could make a big difference to your health and happiness.

Diabetes NSW & ACT run regular annual cycle of care events throughout the year. Find an annual cycle of care near you.

If you have type 2 diabetes you may also benefit from attending a MedSmart course. These workshops teach you all about the basics of diabetes and digestion, so that you can understand more about your medications.

*This article was updated 17 May 2021.


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