Favorite Label Survey Stories
Here are a sample of the stories WHL collected in the Favorite Label Survey. These stories illustrate the need for an easier-to-read prescription label in Wisconsin.
"An elderly relative accidentally took 3 times the dose of a medication for about 4 days. The label stated: take 1 1/2 pill twice daily. The instructions were to take ½ of a pill 2 times a day. The way the instructions were typed on the label, led my relative to believe she should take 1 and ½ pills 2 times a day. She should have taken 1 pill per day, but she was taking 3 pills per day."
"Recently, a Spanish-speaking patient was rushed to the ER due to an insulin overdose. The instructions provided in Spanish were not reviewed for appropriateness, and, as a result, did not mirror the English instructions on the bottle. The patient was taking almost three times the recommended dosage, because the instructions in Spanish read: “Take up to 3 tablets every 24 hours,” and she understood it to mean that she needed to take 3 tablets, 3 times a day, every 24 hours."
"My mother was on pain pills and muscle relaxers. The labels were not clear on how the pills should be administered (at the same time? separately? at what time of the day?). When homecare came in to help, my 82-year old mother was over-medicated on two occasions. EMT was called to administer oxygen."
"My medication read "take 3 times a day." Unaware that it should have been 3 equally divided times a day, I did not get the maximum effectiveness of medication because the medication levels were inconsistent."
"I didn't know for a long time that my anti cholesterol medication worked better if I took it at bedtime.The label just said take once a day."
"I give my son medication daily. He has ADHD, asthma, allergies. He takes up to 10 different medications. The hardest was when one more inhaled medication was added. For me it was the twice daily, how to inhale, and then rinsing afterwards. What was the most difficult for me is I wasn't at the doctors appointment with my husband to hear all of instructions and then I had to go by the medication label, my husband, and my child for the indications for use. The label was difficult to follow and my husband and I are in the medical field!"
"My mother was given pain patches for your severe arthritis and was instructed to place the patch somewhere on her body. At a Thanksgiving dinner, we notice that she became drowsy and was slurring her words....when we looked at her more carefully we discovered that she had placed a pain patch everywhere she was hurting."
Health Literacy Summit
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Wisconsin Health Literacy is working with a patient advisory council to design easy-to-read medication labels. Our work has impacted about 3 million prescription labels in Wisconsin.