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Quantifying age-related differences in information processing behaviors when viewing prescription drug labels.

Sundar RP, Becker MW, Bello NM, Bix L - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: During viewing, participants often failed to attend to the PWLs; this effect was more pronounced for older than younger participants.However, when memory performance was conditionalized on whether or not the participant had fixated the PWL, these age-related differences in memory were no longer significant, suggesting that the difference in memory performance between groups was attributable to differences in attention rather than differences in memory encoding or recall.These data provide a compelling case that understanding consumers' attentive behavior is crucial to developing an effective labeling standard for prescription drugs.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Packaging, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Adverse drug events (ADEs) are a significant problem in health care. While effective warnings have the potential to reduce the prevalence of ADEs, little is known about how patients access and use prescription labeling. We investigated the effectiveness of prescription warning labels (PWLs, small, colorful stickers applied at the pharmacy) in conveying warning information to two groups of patients (young adults and those 50+). We evaluated the early stages of information processing by tracking eye movements while participants interacted with prescription vials that had PWLs affixed to them. We later tested participants' recognition memory for the PWLs. During viewing, participants often failed to attend to the PWLs; this effect was more pronounced for older than younger participants. Older participants also performed worse on the subsequent memory test. However, when memory performance was conditionalized on whether or not the participant had fixated the PWL, these age-related differences in memory were no longer significant, suggesting that the difference in memory performance between groups was attributable to differences in attention rather than differences in memory encoding or recall. This is important because older adults are recognized to be at greater risk for ADEs. These data provide a compelling case that understanding consumers' attentive behavior is crucial to developing an effective labeling standard for prescription drugs.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Actual vial used in this study depicting the three label zones of interest 1a- (1) cap, (2) standard white pharmacy label and (3) prescription warning label (PWL). (Inset: Five color contrasts of PWLs used in this study) 1b- Flattened, scaled drawing.
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pone-0038819-g001: Actual vial used in this study depicting the three label zones of interest 1a- (1) cap, (2) standard white pharmacy label and (3) prescription warning label (PWL). (Inset: Five color contrasts of PWLs used in this study) 1b- Flattened, scaled drawing.

Mentions: Pharmacists have attempted to capitalize on this potential by placing prescription drug warning labels (PWLs- see Figure 1) on drug vials. PWLs are small, colorful stickers that are affixed directly to the vials upon dispensing. They contain warning statements such as, “Do not consume alcohol while taking this medication" or information about routes of administration such as “For external use only." PWLs “were originally developed as a quick reminder to highlight the most important instructions for the safe and effective use of the medication." [12] Conversely, failure to heed these messages has the potential to result in an ADE.


Quantifying age-related differences in information processing behaviors when viewing prescription drug labels.

Sundar RP, Becker MW, Bello NM, Bix L - PLoS ONE (2012)

Actual vial used in this study depicting the three label zones of interest 1a- (1) cap, (2) standard white pharmacy label and (3) prescription warning label (PWL). (Inset: Five color contrasts of PWLs used in this study) 1b- Flattened, scaled drawing.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3375290&req=5

pone-0038819-g001: Actual vial used in this study depicting the three label zones of interest 1a- (1) cap, (2) standard white pharmacy label and (3) prescription warning label (PWL). (Inset: Five color contrasts of PWLs used in this study) 1b- Flattened, scaled drawing.
Mentions: Pharmacists have attempted to capitalize on this potential by placing prescription drug warning labels (PWLs- see Figure 1) on drug vials. PWLs are small, colorful stickers that are affixed directly to the vials upon dispensing. They contain warning statements such as, “Do not consume alcohol while taking this medication" or information about routes of administration such as “For external use only." PWLs “were originally developed as a quick reminder to highlight the most important instructions for the safe and effective use of the medication." [12] Conversely, failure to heed these messages has the potential to result in an ADE.

Bottom Line: During viewing, participants often failed to attend to the PWLs; this effect was more pronounced for older than younger participants.However, when memory performance was conditionalized on whether or not the participant had fixated the PWL, these age-related differences in memory were no longer significant, suggesting that the difference in memory performance between groups was attributable to differences in attention rather than differences in memory encoding or recall.These data provide a compelling case that understanding consumers' attentive behavior is crucial to developing an effective labeling standard for prescription drugs.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Packaging, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Adverse drug events (ADEs) are a significant problem in health care. While effective warnings have the potential to reduce the prevalence of ADEs, little is known about how patients access and use prescription labeling. We investigated the effectiveness of prescription warning labels (PWLs, small, colorful stickers applied at the pharmacy) in conveying warning information to two groups of patients (young adults and those 50+). We evaluated the early stages of information processing by tracking eye movements while participants interacted with prescription vials that had PWLs affixed to them. We later tested participants' recognition memory for the PWLs. During viewing, participants often failed to attend to the PWLs; this effect was more pronounced for older than younger participants. Older participants also performed worse on the subsequent memory test. However, when memory performance was conditionalized on whether or not the participant had fixated the PWL, these age-related differences in memory were no longer significant, suggesting that the difference in memory performance between groups was attributable to differences in attention rather than differences in memory encoding or recall. This is important because older adults are recognized to be at greater risk for ADEs. These data provide a compelling case that understanding consumers' attentive behavior is crucial to developing an effective labeling standard for prescription drugs.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus