Tags: drug | warning | labels

Warning Issued on Drug Warning Labels

Monday, 18 June 2012 01:22 PM

Consumers rarely pay attention to the warning labels on prescription drugs – a factor that contributes to four million cases of adverse reactions to medications in the U.S. each year, according to a Michigan State University study.
Researchers said the finding, published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE, should prompt sweeping improvements to drug labels to get consumers to pay more attention to them, which could reduce adverse reactions that can range from mild rashes and drowsiness to hospitalization and death.
"Given our results, we are recommending a complete overhaul of the design and labeling of the ubiquitous amber bottles, which have seen little change since their introduction some 50 years ago," said lead researcher Laura Bix, associate professor in MSU's School of Packaging.
The MSU study found few patients handed a new prescription actually read critical warning labels such as "do not consume alcohol while taking this medication" or "for external use only." Only 50 percent of MSU study participants looked directly at the labels, and 22 percent did not look at any.
Using eye-tracking technology, MSU researchers found that one source of the labels' ineffectiveness is an inability to capture patients' attention. Bix said relatively simple changes could improve the labels' effectiveness.
"Our initial recommendations would be to move all of the warnings from the colored stickers to the main, white label, which 100 percent of the participants read, or to reposition the warnings so that they can be seen from this vantage point," she said.
Such changes would be especially beneficial to older patients. More than 30 percent of Americans 65 and older take 10 different medications daily, which increases the odds of adverse reactions. Seniors are also less likely to notice or remember warning labels.
Bix and other MSU researchers plan to continue testing the effectiveness of new and existing prescription packaging as well as reviewing prescription drug leaflets, currently under regulatory debate.

© HealthDay

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Overhaul of drug labels urged to address millions of negative medication reactions.
Monday, 18 June 2012 01:22 PM
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