In this section
Complementary medicines include high-dose vitamins, minerals, herbal therapies, tonics, aromatherapy and homeopathic medicines. They are also sometimes known as natural remedies, traditional medicines or alternative medicines.
Some medicines can interact badly with other medicines, and cause unexpected problems. Even natural remedies have the potential to intereact with other medicines.
If your child is admitted to hospital, it is important to tell the doctors and nurses about all of the medicines your child is already taking, including medicines that are:
If you would like your child to continue taking their complementary medicines during their hospital stay, talk to the doctors, nurses or the ward pharmacist. They can find out more information about the medicine, discuss it with you and tell you if they think it is safe for your child to
take while in hospital.
Do not give your child any medicines without telling the hospital staff.
You will need to sign a statement to say the hospital’s policy has been discussed with you before you give your child any medicines while in hospital.
When your child is admitted to hospital, staff should:
In addition to telling hospital staff about all of your child's medicines, you will need to:
What kind of reactions can occur?
Just because a medicine is ‘natural’, it doesn’t mean it
doesn’t have a strong effect in the body. Complementary medicines have the
potential to react with other medications that a person is taking. The
reactions can vary widely – in some cases one medicine ends up working too
strongly, while in other cases the effect of a medicine that your child needs
is not strong enough.
What are some signs that may suggest a medicine interaction?
There are many signs that may indicate a medicine
reaction or interaction. Common signs include nausea and vomiting, pain,
dizziness, rash, headache or sleepiness. More subtle signs may only be noticed
by you or your child. These can include behaviour changes or a change in the
medicine effect (reduced effect or increased effect). If you notice any
possible reaction or interaction, notify your child’s nurse immediately.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Pharmacy. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed October 2018.
Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.