Effect of label format on information recall in patients receiving prescription medications.

P. T. McKnight, P. J. Schneider, K. L. Brier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Many patients receive their filled prescriptions without verbal instructions and must rely on the label as their only source of information. A two-phase study was designed to measure differences in recall information when two common variations in label format were employed. Phase I: Does the patient comprehend label directions better if numbers are typed as words or as numerals? Phase II: Does the addition of preprinted auxiliary labels affect recall of directions? In Phase I, 100 patients were asked to read a label expressing three numbers as words and an additional 100 read the same label using numerals. In Phase II, patients saw the label using numerals with either zero, one, two, or three auxiliary labels attached. Each label was seen by 50 patients. Patients were scored on a point system based on their ability to repeat label directions. There was no significant difference in information recall between label format groups (p greater than 0.05). Only 44% of the patients could remember all directions, 13% could remember no information, and 63% failed to read the auxiliary labels. These results suggest that pharmacists should place less reliance on label format and the use of auxiliary labels to communicate information and spend more time verbally counseling their patients on the proper use of their medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-154
Number of pages5
JournalContemporary Pharmacy Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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