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Noticiability Improvement Required for Prescription Warning Lables


Noticiability Improvement Required for Prescription Warning Lables

(epharmanews)- We often see warning labels, such as “Keep out of reach of children”, on medications but do people usually take heed? And is it harmful if people do not follow such warnings? Well, millions of people suffer the consequences of ignoring these warnings.

According to a Michigan State University study, many of these reactions, ranging from mild rashes and drowsiness to hospitalization and death, could be avoided if warning labels were more effective.  The study, which appears in the current issue of PLoS ONE, reveals that only 50 percent of participants looked directly at the warning labels, and 22 percent did not look at any. Laura Bix, associate professor in MSU’s School of Packaging, suggests that relatively simple changes could improve the labels’ effectiveness.

“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,” Bix said. “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.”

The findings of this study should be of great benefit to older patients. About 30% of patients who are 65 and older take ten different medications daily which can increase the chances of adverse reactions. Older people were less likely to notice or remember warning labels, which further complicates this combination. The fact that more people who saw the stickers could remember them better suggests that it is a key factor for people remembering the warnings to enhance the noticeability of the lables.

The results highlight the importance of how labels influence the attention process, said Mark Becker, assistant professor of cognition and cognitive neuroscience.

“By applying basic research on the control of attention to the design of labels, we may greatly improve their effectiveness,” he said. “This collaboration between the School of Packaging and the Department of Psychology makes such efforts possible.”

Bix and other MSU researchers have plans to continue testing the effectiveness of new and existing prescription packaging as well as reviewing prescription drug leaflets, currently under regulatory debate.


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Prepared by: Hasan Zaytoon


Source :

ePharmaNews






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