Effect of standardized, patient-centered label instructions to improve comprehension of prescription drug use

Michael S. Wolf, Terry C. Davis, Laura M. Curtis, Jennifer A. Webb, Stacy Cooper Bailey, William H. Shrank, Lee Lindquist, Bernice Ruo, Mary V. Bocchini, Ruth M. Parker, Alastair J.J. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of standardized, patient-centered label (PCL) instructions to improve comprehension of prescription drug use compared with typical instructions. Methods: A total of 500 adult patients recruited from 2 academic and 2 community primary care clinics in Chicago, IL and Shreveport, LA were assigned to receive as follows: (1) standard prescription instructions written as times per day (once, twice 3 times per day) (usual care), (2) PCL instructions that specify explicit timing with standard intervals (morning, noon, evening, bedtime) (PCL), or (3) PCL instructions with a graphic aid to visually depict dose and timing of the medication (PCL + Graphic). The outcome was correct interpretation of label instructions. Results: Instructions with the PCL format were more likely to be correctly interpreted compared with standard instructions (adjusted relative risk [RR]: 1.33, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.25-1.41). Inclusion of the graphic aid (PCL + Graphic) decreased rates of correct interpretation compared with PCL instructions alone (RR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.89-0.97). Patients with low literacy were better able to interpret PCL instructions (low literacy: RR: 1.39; 95% CI: 1.14-1.68; P = 0.001). Conclusion: The PCL approach could improve patients' understanding and use of their medication regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-100
Number of pages5
JournalMedical care
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • comprehension
  • health literacy
  • labels
  • medication
  • patient
  • prescription
  • safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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