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Psychiatric medication

Explains what psychiatric drugs are, what to know before taking them, and information on side effects and coming off medication.

What is the Yellow Card scheme?

The Yellow Card scheme collects information about the side effects of different drugs. It is run by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 

The scheme exists for a few reasons:

  • Making sure drug manufacturers list side effects accurately. For example, if lots of people report a side effect, manufacturers might need to consider how common it is. In some cases, they may need to add a warning to the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL).
  • Assessing whether a drug may need to be taken off the market. This may be necessary if enough people report a very serious side effect.
  • Helping other people decide whether to take the drug in future by giving more accurate information about side effects.

If you experience side effects after taking a particular medication, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website. Or you can get a report card from your pharmacist. You can also ask a healthcare professional to report side effects for you.

The Yellow Card scheme is completely voluntary. You don't have to report any side effects you may experience, if you don't want to.

This information was published in March 2021. We will revise it in 2024.

References and bibliography available on request.

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