Weighing Benefits and Risks
If you've picked up a prescription from your pharmacy recently, you've probably noticed this: the labels that are often inserted in medication packages are loaded with so much information (most of it in fine print) they're completely overwhelming. In the "laundry list" of side effect information, it's hard to know which side effects matter and how often they occur.
That's just one example of how essential information about prescription drugs is poorly communicated to the public, say Geisel School of Medicine researcher-physicians Steven Woloshin, MD, and Lisa Schwartz, MD. Both are also professors at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice.
For almost 20 years, the husband-wife team have been working on research efforts to improve the communication of benefits and risks in medicine—most recently setting their sights on prescription drugs.
Working with the FDA, Woloshin and Schwartz have developed a tool called the "Drug Facts Box." Inspired by the nutrition labels that appear on the side of cereal boxes, the tool provides key information about a drug's benefits and harms, in an easy-to-read format.
Some questions and answers with Woloshin and Schwartz on the Drug Facts Box: Read more
In the Media"Just the Facts, Please: Doctors Start Company to Improve Drug Information" Valley News, February 9, 2014
Medical Decision Making, September/October 2007;27: 655-62