A new survey of patients in Denmark seems to indicate that instruction leaflets in medicine bottles, which list the possible side effects of taking drugs, cause one in three patients stop taking prescription medicine.
Information leaflets in medicines are required by law in Denmark.
“32% stated that they had stopped taking medication due to the information about adverse effects,” the study says.
The survey, carried out at a general practitioner's in Copenhagen by two chief physicians at Bispebjerg Hospital and a medical student, shows that patients read information leaflets thoroughly, and in particular information on possible side effects.
Drs. Lene Reuther and Stig Ejdrup and Medical Student Anna Horwitz say that their survey of 111 patients cannot give a full country-wide picture of patient behavior, although their results are close to previous surveys.
Published in Ugeskrift for Læger today, the survey shows, however, that 21 percent of patients trust the information that they are given at the doctor’s or chemist’s and thus never read information leaflets.
“The patient information leaflet is an important source of drug information as most patients read the leaflet and nearly a third of the patients stated that information about the adverse effects had made them stop taking their medicine,” the survey says in its conclusions.
“Future studies should bring into focus the reason for medication adherence, how written information can be made easier to read, comprehensive and correct without contributing to anxiety and non-adherence,” it concludes.
Edited by Julian Isherwood