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A pregnant woman does not look like an olive
Date:1/25/2010

health literacy, a group at greatest risk for misinterpreting instructions and misusing medications. The paper was published in a recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

The graphic designers worked with the researchers and patients to capture their mental images of what each message means. "A current and widely used icon of a pregnant woman resembles an olive," Wolf said. "For most people that probably doesn't convey pregnancy. The new design of a silhouette of a pregnant woman with a bump on her stomach was more easily recognizable to patients."

The design team included Deborah Adler, the co-creator of Target Corp.'s highly innovative and successful prescription bottle and labeling system called the ClearRx system, and Milton Glaser, a co-founder of New York Magazine who is known for creating the "I love NY" logo and a concert poster for Bob Dylan.

Because the study found that patients ignore too many warnings on the bottle, Wolf recommends a limit of two. Those should include the most important few, and these should have evidence confirming their necessity.

Several warning labels found on pill bottles today were created years ago without a scientific base, Wolf said. "There may not be a reason to use many of these," he noted. "And with such limited real estate on a pill bottle, the fewer the better. Our study supports that."

"We need to figure out which are the most important warnings and only put those on the label. Otherwise you risk the message never reaching the patient," Wolf said. "The more warnings you put on a label, the more you distract them from essential instructions and precautions that ensure they safely use the medicine."

The study included 500 adult patients from two academic and two community health clinics in Chicago and Shreveport, La. The patients were tested on their interpretation of nine drug warning labels that were 1) current standard drug warning labels on prescription c
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Contact: Marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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