Introduction: The objective was to investigate patients' perception of patient information leaflets, including their readability, comprehensibility and their impact on adherence.
Material and methods: A 14-item questionnaire was prepared and answered by unselected patients in a general practice in Copenhagen.
Results: A total of 111 patients were included. Eighty-eight patients (79%) always or often read the patient information leaflets. Among these, 77% attached importance to adverse effects. A mere 13% attached importance to all leaflet information. In all, 21% never or rarely read patient information leaflets, but relied on the doctor or the pharmacist. 62% of the interviewed had no problems reading or understanding the patient information leaflets. Among the 38% with reading problems, 57% had difficulties due to text-size, and 33% found the written language difficult to understand. Thirty-five patients (32%) stated that they had stopped taking medication due to the information about adverse effects.
Conclusion: The patient information leaflet is an important source of drug information as most patients read the leaflet and nearly a third of the patients stated that information about the adverse effects had made them stop taking their medicine. Future studies should bring into focus the reason for medication adherence, how written information can be made easier to read, comprehensive and correct without contributing to anxiety and non-adherence.