Patient information leaflets: informing or frightening? A focus group study exploring patients' emotional reactions and subsequent behavior towards package leaflets of commonly prescribed medications in family practices.

Herber, Oliver Rudolf; Gies, Verena; Schwappach, David; Thürmann, Petra; Wilm, Stefan (2014). Patient information leaflets: informing or frightening? A focus group study exploring patients' emotional reactions and subsequent behavior towards package leaflets of commonly prescribed medications in family practices. BMC family practice, 15, p. 163. BioMed Central 10.1186/1471-2296-15-163

[img]
Preview
Text
Herber BMCFamPract 2014.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (180kB) | Preview

BACKGROUND

The purpose of patient information leaflets (PILs) is to inform patients about the administration, precautions and potential side effects of their prescribed medication. Despite European Commission guidelines aiming at increasing readability and comprehension of PILs little is known about the potential risk information has on patients. This article explores patients' reactions and subsequent behavior towards risk information conveyed in PILs of commonly prescribed drugs by general practitioners (GPs) for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia; the most frequent cause for consultations in family practices in Germany.

METHODS

We conducted six focus groups comprising 35 patients which were recruited in GP practices. Transcripts were read and coded for themes; categories were created by abstracting data and further refined into a coding framework.

RESULTS

Three interrelated categories are presented: (i) The vast amount of side effects and drug interactions commonly described in PILs provoke various emotional reactions in patients which (ii) lead to specific patient behavior of which (iii) consulting the GP for assistance is among the most common. Findings show that current description of potential risk information caused feelings of fear and anxiety in the reader resulting in undesirable behavioral reactions.

CONCLUSIONS

Future PILs need to convey potential risk information in a language that is less frightening while retaining the information content required to make informed decisions about the prescribed medication. Thus, during the production process greater emphasis needs to be placed on testing the degree of emotional arousal provoked in patients when reading risk information to allow them to undertake a benefit-risk-assessment of their medication that is based on rational rather than emotional (fearful) reactions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Faculty Institutions > Teaching Staff, Faculty of Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Schwappach, David

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services

ISSN:

1471-2296

Publisher:

BioMed Central

Language:

English

Submitter:

Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

21 Oct 2014 12:21

Last Modified:

14 Sep 2017 07:29

Publisher DOI:

10.1186/1471-2296-15-163

PubMed ID:

25277783

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.59414

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/59414

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback