According to MSNBC take two tablets by mouth twice daily.” This printed instruction, common on prescription pill bottles, might seem straightforward. Yet in a study, nearly half of patients misunderstood what it or other common label instructions meant.
Now the non-profit organization that sets quality and safety standards for drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration is aiming to simplify, clarify and standardize the labels that are affixed to those drugs.
The U.S. Pharmacopeia proposal, developed in conjunction with a group of independent experts, was released early this year for public comment. If adopted by state pharmacy boards nationwide, its developers hope it will help remove one of the many barriers that discourage people from taking their prescription drugs.
Medication compliance, or “adherence,” as it’s called, is a big problem. Despite the fact that 87 percent of people in a recent survey said they thought prescription medicines were important to their health, only about half of those surveyed take their drugs as directed. People skip doses, take the wrong number of pills, and take pills at the wrong time of day, among many other problems. Poor adherence results in up to $290 billion in medical expenses each year, according to NEHI, a health research organization.
Dr. O’Toole instructs his patients following surgery to take all medications according to his written instructions. Most patients are prescribed a narcotic pain reliever as well as antibiotics. Patients who are prescribed muscle relaxers for procedures such as breast augmentation, and abdominoplasty should understand that these are to be taken only as needed; not at regular hourly intervals. Dr. O’Toole makes it very clear to his patients that plastic surgery recovery is not a pain-free process. With time, patients heal remarkably well and are overwhelmingly happy.
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