1. Cardiologists and pharmacists at the University Hospital of Wales collaborated to write 20 individual leaflets incorporating guidelines for a range of drugs used in the treatment of cardiology patients. The Plain English Campaign advised on the intelligibility and presentation of the information. 2. One hundred and twenty-five patients from the Regional Cardiology Unit, University Hospital of Wales were randomly allocated to receive usual verbal counselling about their drug treatment with or without an individualised drug information wallet. Two weeks after discharge from hospital patients completed a postal questionnaire to determine their satisfaction with the information about their drug treatment and their understanding of it. Forty-nine questionnaires were returned from the leaflet group and 52 from the control group. 3. The provision of written guidelines resulted in significant improvements in patients' satisfaction with their drug treatment (chi 2 = 33.3, P less than 0.001) and their understanding of it (P less than 0.001, Mann-Whitney test). Overall, patients who received leaflets were more likely to be aware of the potential side effects of their drugs but less likely to be apprehensive about them. Succinct guidelines concerning drug therapy can be assimilated by cardiology patients and provide them with a permanent record for future reference.