Patient interpretations of prescription order quantitative statements

Dominique Comer, Melanie Mabins, J. S. Butler, Karen Blumenschein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: To characterize the variability in patient understanding and interpretation of quantitative statements from prescription orders and to evaluate the influence of sociodemographic characteristics on how patients interpret quantitative statements. Methods: Participants were recruited in both a clinic and pharmacy setting in Kentucky. Patients were given a survey that asked for general background information and two questions pertaining to their experience with topical products. Then, patients were read a scenario and asked to use a provided tube of cream and squeeze out what they considered a small amount. Results: 100 eligible patients participated in the study, with the majority having previous counseling on the use of topical products. The mean (±SD) cream weight representing a small amount was 0.36 ± 0.50 g. Regression analysis demonstrated a significant nonlinear relationship for two of the patient characteristics, age and body mass index (BMI), with the greatest effect in the middle of age and BMI distributions (at approximately age 50 years and BMI 30 kg/m2). No evidence indicated that gender, race, education, or previous experience with or education about topical products had any effect on cream weight perception. Conclusion: Patients demonstrated tremendous variability in the interpretation of a small amount of topical product cream. Further research should be conducted to determine whether policy changes are warranted to require more specific prescription order instructions in the outpatient setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-407
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011


  • Health literacy
  • Perceptions
  • Prescription labeling
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Patient interpretations of prescription order quantitative statements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this