User-friendly Medication Packaging Design Can Boost Patient Safety

A recent study published in Human Factors found that a redesign of medication packages can lead to a decrease in medication errors and accidental overdoses. Tor Endestad, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oslo, and colleagues evaluated user responses to the original packages of generic OTC medication compared with packages that they redesigned several ways. Researchers found that error rates were high with the original packaging but decreased for the redesigned packages: from 41% to 8% among younger users and from 68% to 16% among older adults. The authors said highlighting the drug information on a high-contrast background color and positioning it in a dedicated place on the package helped users identify the medications faster and more accurately.