, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 1582-1584
Date: 06 Nov 2012

Getting to Better Prescription Drug Information

This is an excerpt from the content

In addition to alchemy, medicine, botany, astrology and the occult, the great Renaissance polymath Paracelsus was a master of sound bites. His statement, “all drugs are poisons” certainly grabs your attention.1 But what does it mean? That people should avoid all medications? Certainly not. Paracelsus devised quite a few medicines himself. He meant that when it came to medications, you have to be careful. Used correctly, they can save lives. Used wrongly, they can kill.

Five hundred years later, two articles in this issue of JGIM show how modern drug regulators, researchers, doctors and patients continue to grapple with Paracelsus’ concern about medications.

In the first article, Cooper Bailey, et al.2 focus on an obvious—but surprisingly understudied—way to maximize the benefit and minimize the harms of medications: improving the instructions on pill bottles so patients take them correctly. The authors tested whether enhanced pill bottle instructions—previously shown to help English-spea ...

“All drugs are poisons” 1
Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim- Dr. Paracelsus (1493–1541)
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