'What do patients want?' Tailoring medicines information to meet patients' needs

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2017 Nov;13(6):1186-1190. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2016.10.006. Epub 2016 Oct 26.


Medicines information leaflets can equip patients to be in control of their own healthcare and support the safe and effective use of medicines. The design and content of leaflets influences patients' willingness to read them, and poor examples can cause patient confusion and anxiety. Researchers examined the literature over the past 8 years to determine the content and design of medicine information leaflets that patients prefer in order to read, understand, and use them effectively. It was found that existing leaflets do not meet patients' needs and appear ineffective. Leaflets lack the information patients seek and may contain non-essential material, affecting patients' perception of, and willingness to read them. Additionally, the acceptable leaflet length varies between patients. Application of good design principles improves readability, comprehension, and ability to locate information. Medicine information leaflets must meet patients' needs and be well designed. Tailoring information leaflets to patient characteristics and requirements would enhance effectiveness. Passive provision of pre-printed leaflets is outdated, unvalued and ineffective. Using automated computer systems for leaflet tailoring with the ability to further adapt patients' information might be the best way forward.

Keywords: Counselling; Information design; Medicine information; Patient education; Patient information leaflet; Tailored information.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drug Labeling*
  • Humans
  • Pamphlets
  • Patient Satisfaction*