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Patients’ attention to and understanding of adverse drug reaction warnings
Tresa Muir McNeal1, Colleen Y Colbert1, Christian Cable1, Curtis R Mirkes1, June G Lubowinski2, John D Myers1
1Department of Medicine, Texas A&M University System HSC College of Medicine, Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, TX, USA; 2RD Haynes Medical Library, Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, TX, USA
Introduction: Medications are critical to the management of patient conditions, and they can have significant effects on the success or failure of medical interventions. Patient perceptions of drug warnings play an important role in medication compliance and ultimately disease management. Several factors may affect patients’ understanding of drug warnings and drug labeling, including health literacy and interactions with physicians and pharmacists.
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to provide a review of the literature related to patient perceptions of drug warnings and drug labeling. Descriptive articles and studies regarding patient perceptions and knowledge of adverse drug reaction warnings were reviewed.
Methods: The following databases were utilized to search the literature related to patient perceptions of drug warnings: PubMed, Academic Search Premiere, CINAHL, Medline, Psych Info, Business Source Complete, Alternative Healthwatch, Health Source (both Nursing/Academic and Consumer additions), JSTOR, and Master File Premiere. For the purpose of this review, any peer-reviewed article was eligible. Exclusionary criteria included: articles published in languages other than English, articles/studies on patient perceptions of vaccines and chemotherapy, and articles related to perceptions of medications administered in the inpatient setting. Forty-six articles were included in the review.
Results: Health literacy has been shown to have a major impact on patients’ ability to understand potential adverse reactions and instructions on correct dosing of medications. Direct communication with physicians and pharmacists is one of the most important and effective variables in promoting understanding of drug warnings. Appropriateness of written medical information that is informative and timely can improve patients’ perceptions of drug warnings and hopefully disease management.
Conclusion: As patients increasingly assume more personal responsibility as informed consumers of health care, it is even more important to address patient perceptions of drug warnings considering how this fits in the context of their overall care.
Keywords: patient perceptions, adverse drug reaction warnings, health literacy
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