MSU Researchers Call for Better Warning Labels on Prescription Medications

Many adverse reactions to prescription medications could be avoided if warning labels were more effective, according to a Michigan State University study.


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The researchers discovered that only 50 percent of study participants looked directly at the warning labels, and 22 percent did not look at any. When patients are handed a new prescription, few read the critical warning labels such as "do not consume alcohol while taking this medication" or "for external use only." Using eye-tracking technology, MSU researchers found that one source of the labels' ineffectiveness is an inability to capture patients' attention.

The researchers' initial recommendations include moving all warnings from the colored stickers to the main white label, which 100 percent of the participants read, or repositioning the warnings so that they can be seen more easily.

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