Labels on medicine to be made clearer

04th March 2011 - Fine Cut

The labels produced for medicine bottles are to be made clearer, as currently they can cause confusion.

That's according to a study published by the British National Formulary, cited by Yahoo! News, which showed that phrases used on medicine labels could potentially cause confusion to users.

For example, phrases such as "avoid alcoholic drink" could be misinterpreted, the study said, and as such should be replaced with: "Do not drink alcohol while taking this medicine." It is thought changes such as this will be implemented within the next six months.

One of the academics behind the study, Theo Raynor, spoke to BBC News about the changes and the motivation behind them: "Most medicines do not contain leaflets which provide detailed information for patients."

"However the leaflet may get lost, which means that the label on the medicine plays a very important part in guiding people's behaviour. It is vital therefore that wording on labels are simple and straightforward."

He continued to explain the example given, referring to the consumption of alcohol when taking certain medications, claiming: "Our user tests have shown that the word 'avoid' can cause confusion and that some people think it only means they should limit their intake."

It is hoped the change in label will mitigate this confusion, and help to reduce the amount of injury caused by not patients not adhering to the instructions that accompany their medicines properly.

 

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