PIL stands for Patient Information Leaflet (known as Package Leaflet or PL) and is the leaflet that is included in the pack with a medicine. The PIL is written by the pharmaceutical company and is a patient-friendly version of the Summary of Product Characteristics. All PILs are checked and approved by the UK or European medicines licensing agency. If you are unsure about anything or have any questions about the PIL, always speak to a healthcare professional such as a doctor, pharmacist or nurse.

PILs have to contain specific headings, but sometimes the order might differ. These are the usual headings and the information that is included in each section:

1. What is your medicine and what it is used for

  • What type of medicine is it?
  • What diseases or medical conditions is it approved to treat?
2. Before you take or use your medicine
  • Do not take or use - situations where a medicine should not be taken or used.
  • Take special care - situations where the prescriber needs to be extra careful when prescribing a medicine.
  • Taking or using other medicines - if this medicine interacts or interferes with any other medicines, herbal or dietary supplements.
  • Taking or using your medicine with food and drink - if you should take the medicine with or without certain foods or drinks.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding - if you can use or take this medicine if you are pregnant, thinking of getting pregnant or are breast-feeding a baby.
  • Driving and using machines - if the medicine can affect your ability to drive or use any tools or machines.
  • Important information about some of the ingredients in your medicine.
3. How to take or use your medicine
  • How to take or use the medicine.
  • How often it should be used or taken.
  • How long it should be used or taken for.
  • What to do if you take or use more than you should.
  • What to do if you forget a dose.
  • What might happen if you stop taking or using the medicine.
4. Possible side effects
  • All medicines can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. This section tells you about the side effects and what you should do if you get them.
5. How to store your medicine
  • How to check the expiry date of the medicine.
  • How to store your medicine.
  • How to dispose of your medicine.
6. Further Information
  • What your medicine contains - both the active and inactive ingredients.
  • The amount of active ingredient.
  • What the medicine looks like.
  • The pack size.
  • The name of the company that makes and sells the medicine.
  • The date the leaflet was approved by the authorities.
  • Any further information about the medicine.