Contributed by

Oluwole A Williams BPharm(Ife), PharmD(Howard)

Manufacturer instructions that accompany drug products may or may not have a graphic art for guidance on how to use a particular drug or pharmaceutical formulation; Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, veterinarians and other healthcare practitioners are often relied upon by the patient to provide adequate medication use guides.

Most healthcare practitioners will routinely provide: verbal, hand-written directions and or printed-text to assist patients in the use of a newly prescribed medication; For certain drug products particularly with specialty medicines, a thorough understanding of “how to use a drug” is essential to avoid unnecessary wastage, misuse and therapy failure from inappropriate use of a drug.

Some medicines intended for skin cancer such as 5FU(Fluorouracil) and 5% cream of Imiquimod will require wearing gloves on the hand before using the Cream Formulation on the skin; Other “expensive” medications for example: Insulin Hormones, Aerosol Inhalers, Migraine injections and Drugs for Kidney/Liver disease that require administration on a daily/weekly/Monthly basis often have a drug manufacturer package insert with A Step-by-Step Graphic Art to guide patients on how to use the product(s).

It is crucial to the overall health of a patient, if the person for whom a drug product is prescribed understands clearly “how to use a drug product”? “What the product contains”? Or, “what to avoid” in the use of a prescription drug because that would enhance

1.Quick recovery,

2. Reduce costly wastage,

3. Support the care provided by the pharmacist or physician and

4.Prevent inconvenient insurance queries related to early-fills on prescription drugs.

Medications that have very severe adverse reactions when combined with Alcohol may for instance carry a graphic art with a BOLD X across the graphics of a Bottle of Alcohol or Beer!

Patient understanding of certain OTC- Over-the-Counter drugs also helps to prevent exaggerated side-effects or adverse reactions that are related to “drug duplication” in treatment; For instance, a patient buys an OTC product containing Acetaminophen or Naproxen for pain relief, and, upon a visit to the ER, the same patient is prescribed a drug that contains those same active ingredients? Graphic art of a BOARD & SIGN-POST listing of potentially similar medicines in the manufacturer package insert “might” be a quick guide to the patient on what drugs to avoid, such graphics might ALERT patient to “look at the message” provided in the drug packet.

According to an experimental study published in the ‘Journal of Educational Psychology 06/2017; Beege. M, Dyrna. J, Meier. L, Ray. G. D and Schneider. S, in their Article titled “Decorative Pictures and Learning with Media”; High School students who were taught with decorative pictures linked to instructional texts out-performed their peers in cognitive tests compared to control groups of students who were exposed to weak pictures and no pictures respectively.

Graphic art certainly has a place in memory, recollection and dexterity at using a complex pharmaceutical product because of the ease of visual art comprehension and the impact of picture display on a step-by-step format in comparison to plain text as a means of education on product use. Again, products like: Inhalers, Injections, Sprays, Shampoos and Eye/Ear Drops may present complexity of understanding if no graphic art are provided in the product package.

Some inhalers have to be “primed” before use, certain shampoos require shaving the scalp before use, Some Nasal sprays have to be thoroughly shaken before use and some drugs that could discolor normal skin require placing white paraffin on surrounding skin before application of a drug on the affected spot of skin.

Do not hesitate to “ASK Your Pharmacist” or healthcare provider each time you are prescribed a new drug product; How to use an injection? How to use an inhaler? How to use a spray? What special precaution applies to your New Insulin injection? What to avoid while using a drug product? Consult other Audio-Visual websites “that” might have product guide on a new prescription that you have received from your pharmacy.

Thank you


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