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Consumer interpretation of ramipril and clopidogrel medication risk information – implications for risk communication strategies

Authors Tong V, Raynor D, Blalock S, Aslani P

Received 10 April 2015

Accepted for publication 20 May 2015

Published 9 July 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 983—988


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Vivien Tong,1 David K Raynor,2 Susan J Blalock,3 Parisa Aslani1

Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; 2School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, Leeds, England, UK; 3Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Purpose: Side effects and side-effect risk information can be provided using written medicine information. However, challenges exist in effectively communicating this information to consumers. This study aimed to explore broad consumer profiles relevant to ramipril and clopidogrel side-effect risk information interpretation.
Methods: Three focus groups were conducted (n=18 consumers) exploring consumer perspectives, understanding and treatment decision making in response to ramipril and clopidogrel written medicine information leaflets containing side effects and side-effect risk information. All discussions were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed to explore consumer profiles pertaining to side-effect risk appraisal.
Results: Three consumer profiles emerged: glass half-empty, glass half-full, and middle-of-the-road consumers, highlighting the influence of perceived individual susceptibility, interpretation of side-effect risk information, and interindividual differences, on consumers’ understanding of side-effect risk information. All profiles emphasized the importance of gaining an understanding of individual side-effect risk when taking medicines.
Conclusion: Written side-effect risk information is not interpreted uniformly by consumers. Consumers formulated their own construct of individual susceptibility to side effects. Health care professionals should consider how consumers interpret side-effect risk information and its impact on medication use. Existing risk communication strategies should be evaluated in light of these profiles to determine their effectiveness in conveying information.

Keywords: adverse effects, risk assessment, drug labeling, consumer participation, comprehension

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