Reaction to medication


This page explains what to do if you think you may have an adverse reaction to medication

What to report

If you think a medicine or herbal remedy has caused an unwanted side effect (an adverse drug reaction), please report the problem on a Yellow Card.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the medicines safety watchdog. The Yellow Card scheme has been used for over 40 years to collect information on suspected side effects from all types of medicines. These include prescription medicines, medicines you can buy without a prescription, and herbal and other complementary remedies.

The MHRA welcomes Yellow Card reports on any suspected side effect. It is especially useful to know about:

  • A suspected side effect that is not mentioned in the patient information leaflet that came with the medicine.
  • Asuspected side effect that has caused problems bad enough to interfere with everyday activities.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether a possible side effect is due to a medicine or something else. Even if you are not sure whether a medicine or combination of medicines has caused a side effect, but suspect it has, please
complete a Yellow Card.

If you are worried about a suspected side effect, contact a doctor or pharmacist, or call NHS Direct in England and Wales on 0845 46 47 or NHS24 in Scotland on 08454 24 24 24.

How to report a suspected side effect

You can report a suspected side effect:

  •   On a Yellow Card form, which you can find at pharmacies.  
  •   Member of public reporting form   (the completed form should be returned to the address at the bottom of the form. No stamp is needed).
  •   Call the Yellow Card hotline on freephone 0808 100 3352 (available weekdays 10:00 - 14:00)

    Who can report?

    You can send a Yellow Card report about a suspected side effect experienced by:

    • Yourself.
    • Your child.
    • Someone else you are responsible for (such as your spouse or partner, or an adult child), with their agreement.

    The MHRA also collects Yellow Card reports of suspected side effects from health professionals, GPs, pharmacists and nurses.

    Safety of medicines

    Medicines are designed to prevent or treat illnesses, or relieve symptoms. Any medicine can cause side effects. Side effects may not be discovered until many people have used the medicine over a period of time.

    Occasionally, side effects can appear after a person has stopped taking a medicine. You can help to make medicines safer for everyone by filling in a Yellow Card about a suspected side effect.

    More information

    Don’t forget, if you are worried about a suspected side effect, contact a doctor or pharmacist.

    You can also get information from:

    •  NHS Direct in England and Wales on 0845 46 47 (textphone 0845 606 4647)
    •  NHS24 in Scotland on 08454 24 24 24 (textphone 18001 08454 24 24 24)

    The MHRA advises that you consult your health professional about any suspected side effect or adverse reaction from a medicine that you are taking. The MHRA cannot provide medical advice in individual cases.

    NB If you have any difficulties with this information please contact the Dystonia Society Helpline on 0845 458 6322 they may be able to help you.

    Revised August 2009