What is it about?

A representative selection of 271 German package leaflets available in 2005 was investigated, using 152 validated quality criteria and by measuring 242 further values. The results show a significant increase in package leaflets' texts over recent years; standing at an average of 2,005 words. This is associated with the significant increase in complicated medical information being communicated; with on average 114.1 difficult words and 46.3 non quantifiable phrases per package leaflet. Only 60.1% of the package leaflets offered all dosages as number of tablets or other amounts of the ready to use medicine, while just 29.5% listed the maximum daily dose for all users. 54.6% provided actions for all possible side effects and 24.2% the frequencies of side effects in numerical form.

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Why is it important?

Package leaflets are the most frequent source of patient information about medicines aside from doctors and pharmacists.


The significantly increased volume of medical information provided in package leaflets does not meet the requirements of patients. Major efforts are required by pharmaceutical companies, authorities and legislative bodies in order to reduce information to that which is essential for patients and to ensure that this is provided in short, precise and easily comprehensible texts.

Dr Jörg Fuchs

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This page is a summary of: Excessive medical information increase in package inserts, International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, December 2010, Dustri-Verlgag Dr. Karl Feistle, DOI: 10.5414/cpp48781.
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