Introduction to High Risk Medicines

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What you will learn

This module is the first in a series to promote the safety of high risk medicines in different healthcare settings.

It describes general information about high risk medicines, errors with high risk medicines, and strategies for safe management of high risk medicines.

Safety information about each of the high risk medicine groups is covered in other modules in the series.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module you will be able to:

  • identify what makes a medicine ‘high risk’
  • identify high risk medicines
  • explain how medication errors occur
  • explain strategies to improve management of high risk medicines
  • describe resources/tools available to help in the safe management of high risk medicines.

About this module

Target Audience

This module is intended for all healthcare staff involved in the management of high risk medicines.


The module is designed to take around half an hour to complete.


On successful completion of the assessments you can download a certificate of completion.


This module aligns with the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards, Second Edition – Standards 1, 2, 4 & 6.

Clinical Governance Standard: Ticked Partnering with Consumers Standard: Ticked Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection Standard Medication Safety Standard: Ticked Comprehensive Care Standard Communication for Safety Standard: Ticked Blood Management Standard Recognising and Responding to Acute Deterioration Standard


This module content was developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and is protected by copyright under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike (BY-NC-ND) 4.0 International License.

The content is provided in good faith by the Commission for information purposes. It is not a substitute for, and is not intended to replace, any specific policies, guidelines or requirements for your local health network or health service.

The Commission does not accept any legal liability or responsibility for any injury, loss or damage incurred by the use of, or reliance on, this information.

Course release dates

May 2024 Updated to include new case studies and changes to current practice, policies and standards.
November 2023 Under review.
October 2023 Updated to include new APINCHS and variations of APINCHS used in differrent states.
October 2014 First released.


General resources


Medication errors

Just culture

Risk reduction strategies


Oral methotrexate

Alteration of oral dosage forms

Time critical medicines

Oral liquid medicine


Content team

  • Lisa Pont PhD, Professor of Pharmacy, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
  • Bonnie Tai, B Pharm (Hons), M Clin Pharm, Adv Pract Pharm, MSHP

Contributors to the previous version of this course

Medicines and Technology Policy and Programs Branch (MTPP), SA Health:

  • Naomi Burgess, Director
  • Anita Abarno, Senior Pharmacist, Medication Safety
  • Kaye Barratt, Senior Specialist Pharmacist

SA Health would also like to acknowledge and thank the following:

  • Carolyn Field, Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Kirsty Scarborough, Central Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Kerrie Westaway, Medical Writer, Sansom Institute, University of South Australia (previously Senior Project Officer, Medication Safety, MTPP, SA Health)
  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital Pharmacy Department

Module structure