Half of patients do not know what the side-effects of medication is before they start taking it, figures have shown.
A new poll has found that only 49% of people are "usually" aware of the side-effects of a drug before they start using it.
A survey by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) found that only two in every five people read the patient information leaflet included in the drug packet.
Community pharmacist Paul Johnson said: "If medicines are misunderstood by patients they can become seriously ill or worse.
"Taking the wrong dose at the wrong time, using medicines or remedies that interact badly with each other or giving up medicines altogether because of side-effects can have significant health consequences for individuals."