Using your own medicines in hospital

A project being carried out on certain wards at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) means you can use your own medicines brought in from home while you are staying in hospital.

  • On this ward, you can use your own medicines brought in from home instead of having new ones supplied for you. If you are happy to carry on using your own medicines, your nurse or the ward pharmacist will check them.
  • The medicines you bring in with you will be kept in a locked cabinet near your bed. If you run out, the Pharmacy will give you a new supply.
  • Sometimes we find that the medicines are not suitable for use or that your medicines need to be changed during your hospital stay. These medicines will be returned to the Pharmacy to be destroyed.
  • If any new medicines are prescribed during your stay, the Pharmacy will supply them to use on the ward and to take home.
  • All medicines, whether dispensed at GOSH or brought in from home, should be labelled with your name, the name of the medicine and instructions on how to give them.
  • Please sign the consent form if you are happy to use your own medicines during this stay and allow us to destroy any medicines no longer suitable for you.
  • If you do not want to use your own medicines or do not want your medicines destroyed, please tell ward staff as soon as possible. In this case, we advise that your parents or carers take the medicines back home with them.
  • Ward staff will explain about all your medicines, what they are for and how you should take them. If you have any questions about your medicines or any problems with taking them at home, please talk to your nurse, doctor or the ward pharmacist.
Compiled by: 
The Pharmacy department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date: 
July 2009


Please read this information sheet from GOSH alongside the patient information leaflet (PIL) provided by the manufacturer. If you do not have a copy of the manufacturer’s patient information leaflet please talk to your pharmacist. A few products do not have a marketing authorisation (licence) as a medicine and therefore there is no PIL.

For children in particular, there may be conflicts of information between the manufacturer’s patient information leaflet (PIL) and guidance provided by GOSH and other healthcare providers. For example, some manufacturers may recommend, in the patient information leaflet, that a medicine is not given to children aged under 12 years. In most cases, this is because the manufacturer will recruit adults to clinical trials in the first instance and therefore the initial marketing authorisation (licence) only covers adults and older children.  

For new medicines, the manufacturer then has to recruit children and newborns into trials (unless the medicine is not going to be used in children and newborns) and subsequently amend the PIL with the approved information. Older medicines may have been used effectively for many years in children without problems but the manufacturer has not been required to collect data and amend the licence. This does not mean that it is unsafe for children and young people to be prescribed such a medicine ‘off-licence/off-label’. However, if you are concerned about any conflicts of information, please discuss with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.