Find a psychiatrist


Getting medication right for you

It can take time to work out what type and how much medication is right for you.

This might involve:

  • trying different medications
  • increasing or decreasing the amount you take
  • changing when you take the medication.

Take it as prescribed

Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.

Medication may need to be taken before or after food.

A pre-packed kit from your pharmacist or a smartphone reminder app (Australia) might help you to remember to take your medication. 

Keep any notes or printed leaflets about the medication you’re taking.

Allow time for it to work

You need to keep taking your medication, even if you don’t notice it working straight away.

Some medications take days or longer to work.

Talk to your doctor

Talk to your doctor about what you expect your treatment will do. Make sure you both have the same idea about what the effect of the medication will be.

Never stop or change your medication unless you and your doctor have agreed.

Stopping medication

If you want to stop taking your medication, speak to your doctor first. Discuss why you want to stop, whether you need other treatments and what they might be, and how to stop gradually.

Talk to close family and friends about your intention to stop taking medication.

  • Stopping medication suddenly, particularly at high doses, can make you feel sick.
  • There is also a risk that your original symptoms will return. They can be more severe.

Regular check-ups

You will need to get regular check-ups while taking medication.

Your psychiatrist and/or GP will continue to review your mental health and your reaction to the medication.

Your GP will check your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Some medications need extra blood tests, which your GP can organise.

Check-ups are a chance for you to ask any new questions that have come up while taking the medication.

Your dose and type of medication will probably need to change over time. Regular check-ups will help to ensure it’s still working for you.

Page last reviewed Feb 2017 | C1020V1

This is a general guide only, and does not replace individual medical advice. Please speak to your doctor for advice about your situation. The RANZCP is not liable for any consequences arising from relying on this information. Subject matter experts, people with lived experience of mental illness and carers all contributed to this fact sheet.