Patient-perceived content and formatting expectations for prescription container labeling

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

Journal of the American Pharmacists Association


Objectives: The objectives of the study were to identify patient expectations for prescription label content and formatting and to explore how United States Pharmacopeia Chapter 17 Standards for prescription container labeling meet patient expectations. Design: Focus group. Setting: St. Louis, Missouri, in July and August 2014. Participants: Patients 18 years and older who were taking at least 2 chronic prescription medications and managing their medications independently. Main Outcome Measure: Qualitative themes. Intervention: Not applicable. Methods: Five focus groups (17 total participants) were conducted in St. Louis in 2014. Focus groups were audio-recorded and consent was obtained from the participants. The audio files were professionally transcribed. Atlas.ti software (version 7.5.3) was used to analyze the transcript data, which were then coded to identify key themes. To ensure consistency of interpretation, a constant comparative analytic framework approach was used. Results: Analysis produced 6 themes related to patient perceptions and expectations of prescription label content and formatting: importance of drug name, dose, and directions; lack of side effects on the label; improved organization and larger font size; using the color red; lack of familiarity with auxiliary labels; and the importance of pharmacy information. Themes focused on how patients use prescription labels and the relative value of different aspects of prescription container labeling. Conclusions: Patient-perceived prescription content and formatting expectations for prescription container labeling were generally consistent with published USP Chapter 17 guidelines. The importance of pharmacy phone numbers, white space, and highlighting were noteworthy.

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