Drug name confusion: evaluating the effectiveness of capital ("Tall Man") letters using eye movement data

Soc Sci Med. 2004 Dec;59(12):2597-601. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.04.008.


Medication errors commonly involve confusion between drug names that look or sound alike. One possible method of reducing these errors is to print sections of the names in "Tall Man" (capital) letters, in order to emphasise differences between similar products. This paper reports an eye-tracking experiment that evaluates this strategy. Participants had their eye movements monitored while they searched for a target product amongst an array of product packs. The target pack was replaced by a similar distractor in the array. Participants made fewer errors when the appearance of the names had been altered, that is, they were less likely to incorrectly identify a distractor as the target drug. This result was reflected in the eye movement data.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Labeling / methods*
  • Drug Packaging / methods
  • Eye Movements*
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Safety
  • Tablets / classification
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Writing*


  • Tablets