A number of factors may lead a patient to misunderstand instructions on a medication label.

The most important risk factors relate to being able to read the label:

(1) low literacy

(2) written in a language foreign to the patient


Additional factors associated with label misinterpretation:

(1) instructions with the number of doses per day rather than specifying exact times

(2) problems with vision

(3) complex, multiple step instruction

(4) use of icons that were confusing to the patient

(5) ambiguous or unclear wording

(6) use of unfamiliar terms

(7) cognitive impairment

(8) intoxication

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