Confusing labels on medications could become clearer - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Confusing labels on medications could become clearer

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If you think the labels on prescription drugs can be confusing, you're not alone.

Studies suggest 46 percent of patients misunderstand the instructions on medication bottles, or about 90 million Americans according to the Institute of Medicine.

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, or USP, wants to make reading the labels a little easier. It's a nonprofit group that works towards drug safety standards. The group wants to rework the requirements on prescription drug labels to make them easier to understand.

The group said it wants to see the drug name, instructions, and dose clearly at the top of the label, and keep less important information like the pharmacy name, or quantity lower on the label.

USP said it wants to avoid confusing directions. So, instead of "take two tablets twice daily," it would read "take two tablets in the morning, and two tablets in the evening."

While local Medicap Pharmacist Ben Tally said anything to make labels more clear is a good idea, he doesn't think anything is foolproof.

"If you had all the information to make sure everyone did the right thing every time, the label would either be very large and wouldn't fit on a bottle, or the printing would be small and us old people can't see as well," said Tally.

Tally said medications don't work properly, it the patient doesn't take them properly. So, he encourages people to talk to their doctor and pharmacist to make sure they understand the medication's directions before they take it.

"Any label that they could come up with is not going to take the place of getting the information direct from your pharmacist or your physician and making sure that we're all on the same page, and we're doing it the way it needs to be, if there's ever any question, call," said Tally.

Tally said if a customer feels uncomfortable asking questions in person, they can call and ask about the medications privately over the phone.

Each state's board of pharmacy will decide if it will adopt the suggestions.

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