Patients frequently receive prescription medications with directions that are simply unclear. Unfortunately, this confusion leads patients to taking incorrect drug dosages—all because drug labels differ from pharmacy to pharmacy. Because there is still no national standardization of prescription labels, drug directions are written in different ways, creating patient confusion.
However, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention has recommended new safety standards for prescription labels to help clear up some of the confusion surrounding the way labels read. Because the way labels are written vary from drugstore to drugstore and from state to state, many would like to see a nationwide standard be adopted. However, as of now, the labels are monitored by each state board of pharmacy and not the Food and Drug Administration.
While many pharmacies are making label changes to reduce pharmacy errors, it may be a while before standardized prescription labeling is in effect. However, the good news is that last year, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy passed a resolution supporting the standardized labeling process.
Once a standardized medication label is adopted, some of the confusing things listed below will be cleared up. There are sayings on pill bottles which are stated differently that will hopefully be written in one way in the near future, such as:
- Take two pills daily could mean to some patients that they should take two pills a day and others may interpret it as two pills twice a day.
- Instructions could indicate take by mouth, take orally, or take per oral route. Although these phrases mean the same thing, it should be written in the same way to clear up confusion.
When labels are written in a different way every time, it can create patient confusion, which is why label standardization needs to take place.
Please share this information with others, and we will be sure to keep our readers posted about the adoption of standardized prescription labeling in the future.