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Research Article

Quantifying Age-Related Differences in Information Processing Behaviors When Viewing Prescription Drug Labels

  • Raghav Prashant Sundar,

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

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  • Mark W. Becker,

    Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

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  • Nora M. Bello,

    Affiliation: Department of Statistics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, United States of America

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  • Laura Bix mail

    bixlaura@msu.edu

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

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  • Published: June 14, 2012
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038819

Reader Comments (2)

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Age-Related Differences in reading drug labels

Posted by Bats on 17 Jul 2012 at 17:24 GMT

I doubt that there is very little that can be done to improve the efficacy of a 1,2,3 line warning label in a contrasting color.

Except to train the patient to believe that every written communication is meaningful and important.

I defy anyone to support the notion that the "Highlights of Prescribing Information" for Pradaxa is a meaningful document. Its 7,279 words follow an outline which is numbered, lettered, and hierarchical, but it leaves out whole sections, whose significance may or may not be important. Written at what my analysis program says is a 13.57 grade level, it is virtually incomprehensible to me, and I have two advanced degrees. (For comparison purposes Hemingway's writings are graded at 5th grade level for full comprehension.)

Strikingly, the section headed "What is the most important information I should know about PRADAXA?" is buried some 4,000 words from the beginning of the 6-7 point type document.

What researcher is worrying about this type of communication and its effectiveness on either young or old patients? And should you not fold into your study of warning labels, the disdain created by documents such as these, which has to carry over into even post-it note communications from the same source.

As a side issue, but equally important, I've discovered that my 90 day supply of this drug comes in three separate packages, and, when I go from one to another, the "Highlights" document changes to a newer version.

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Competing interests declared: I am an old man trying to get older, and I have little patience for those who think they are providing useful information when they embed it in a fire hose stream of intellectual drivel.

One would hope that providing meaningful information would not be a competing interest to my trying to extend my comfortable life as long as possible.