Anyone who has tried reading a drug label knows how difficult it is to understand. It is especially difficult for consumers and patients to understand and evaluate the potential risks associated with the use of Rx drugs.
A new study in the September 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found multiple problems with drug labels. The authors suggest that one way to improve readability and patient understanding of labels is for FDA to initiate a national standard for their format and content much like it did with the Nutrition Facts labels required on food packaging.
In fact, the FDA recently invited food companies, trade groups, watchdog organizations, medical experts and its overseas counterparts to share how front-label symbols, like the "traffic light" system used in Britain, can improve public health. Shouldn't the FDA champion a similar system to rate risks on drug labels?
That's the idea behind iGuard's Risk Rating system, which converts medical jargon into simple, actionable information. It assigns color-coded risk labels to drugs to communicate the risk of developing serious side effects. This system is not intended for drug labels, however. It is an online solution that patients can customize for their own use depending on the drugs they are taking.
Read some of the resources below for more information about drug risk communication and rating systems.