Ambivalent Dosage Instructions for Children
Dr. Jörg Fuchs1,2, Andrea Finke1,3, PD Dr. Marion Hippius3
1PAINT-Consult®, Jena (Germany),
2Department of Drug Regulatory Affairs at the Institute of Pharmacy, University of Bonn, Bonn (Germany), and
3Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena (Germany)
Clear and comprehensible dosage instructions are essential to ensure that patients get the best treatment results from their medicines, as well as to avoid possible side effects. However, many usability problems are known to exist in the dosage instructions of package inserts. In particular, the comprehensibility of the recommended dosage instructions for children was investigated, which simultaneously contain the doses based on age and the corresponding body weight. The aim of the study was to determine which dosage base people follow when presented with both categories.
205 people, aged between 19 and 83 years, participated in the study. 62.0% determined the dose of an antibiotic for an 8-year-old child weighing 40 kg according to the body weight, while 17.8% chose the lower dose according to the age. 9.3 % tried to calculate a compromise between both the doses by age and body weight, and a further 9.8% were unable to assess the correct dose themselves and referred to the doctor or pharmacist.
The results clearly illustrate that to avoid comprehensibility problems the dosage instructions for children in package inserts should be provided by one system only – age or body weight.