Choosing a medicine

Medicines can be very helpful in helping people to recover from a mental health problem and to stay well. The best decisions about medicines are those where the patient (and carer) and healthcare team work together to share and understand information about the person being treated and the medicines available. This helps to find the "best fit" for the person.

It is important that patients can make "informed choices" by understanding the options available to them and weighing-up their good points and less-good points. Patients need sources of high-quality, unbiased information about medicines if they are to make such choices about their own health and treatment.

Here are some sources of information that might be of help in making a decision about which medicine might be most suitable to help you maintain your mental health. All of the websites we mention will show you useful, unbiased information to help when making decisions. None are better or worse than the others, but each has its own style that you might find more or less helpful.

 

Choice and Medication

Choice and Medication is a website created by specialist mental health pharmacists that also provides a range of information on mental health conditions and the medicines used to help people to recover and stay well. Information is provided about individual medicines as well as “handy charts” that compare different medicines used to treat a particular mental health problem. There is even a “handy book” about how the different medicines work. 

 

The Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Royal College of Psychiatrists produce a range of easy-to-read information about different mental health conditions and the available support and treatments. Information is written by doctors in collaboration with patients and carers.

 

Mind

The mental health charity Mind also provides helpful advice about mental health conditions and treatments as well as specific advice about caring for someone else with a mental health condition, the legal rights of patients and useful tips to help people with a mental health condition lead happy and fulfilling lives.

 

The NHS website

The NHS website itself offers advice on mental and physical health conditions and some information about the medicines we use to help people. You can also use the website to find out which NHS services are closest to you, including community pharmacies.

 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, otherwise known as NICE, have their own website. This is designed to be used by healthcare professionals as well as patients and it can be a little harder to find information particularly designed for patients. Most sections of the NICE website will have “information for the public” that gives a good starting point. The information that NICE produce will give a good idea of what services the NHS should offer you if you have a specific health condition and which treatments should be recommended, based on clinical evidence.


How do I know if a medicine will be available to me?

The NHS nationally and locally makes decisions about which treatments are available to patients. For information about which medicines are available to patients in Derbyshire the best place to look is the ‘traffic light’ list on the Derbyshire Medicines Management website. This will tell you which medicines can be prescribed and also whether your GP can prescribe them, or if they must be prescribed by a specialist.

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