- Medicine Information and Evidence for Policy > Information and Publications
- Medicine Access and Rational Use > Rational Use
(2005; 165 pages)
8.7 What patients need to know
Information for health professionals often only deals with what the health professional needs to know. It can be helpful to think about what the patient will want and need to know about the treatment, and to include this in a section of your article. For drug bulletins aimed at patients or the public, information for patients is essential. It might be valuable to prepare a model patient information leaflet for the drug that health professionals can give to patients. In some countries, including those in the European Union, pharmaceutical companies are required by law to include a patient information leaflet in the drug packaging. However, these are often too long and/or stereotyped, and include too much unimportant information that conceals the really important information.
Information and instructions for patients should be well balanced and explain the likely benefits and harms with short-term and long-term use of the drug. Information should be given on the individual adverse reactions (including the symptoms the patients is likely to experience as a result of the adverse reactions), when and how to stop taking the drug, or how to modify the dose according to the relief of symptoms or the development of new signs and symptoms.
Box 8.9 Examples of information for patients
Worst Pills, Best Pills (Public Citizen Health Research Group)
Treatment Notes [http://www.dtb.org.uk/dtb/tnotes/titles.htm]
United States Pharmacopeia-DI (Advice for the Patient) - searchable via Medline Plus
The Australian National Prescribing Service has links to consumer-friendly resources