Michigan State University investigators say that four million Americans suffer from adverse reactions after consuming medication every year. Most of these cases are caused by an improper understanding of labels, which is why the team is proposing a change in how labels relay information to patients.
Adverse reactions can range from drowsiness and the appearance of mild rashes to more extreme effects – requiring hospitalization – or even death. A huge number of such incidents can be avoided.
Using eye-tracking technologies in a new study, the team found that drug labels simply do not capture patients’ attention long enough for them to read warnings such as “for external use only.” Details of the study appear in the latest issue of the open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE.
“Given our results, we are recommending a complete overhaul of the design and labeling of the ubiquitous amber bottles, which have seen little change since their introduction some 50 years ago,” MSU investigators argue.