How sociodemographic features impact subjects' opinion on packages leaflets of medicines?

Carla Pires, Afonso Cavaco, Marina Vigário


Packages leaflets (PLs) are essential for the safe use and efficacy of medicines.

To quantify the opinion of users of medicines on PLs through the application of a self-administered Likert scale, taking into consideration subjects’ sociodemographic data.

Participants were enrolled from two Portuguese regions: urban/littoral (Lisbon) and rural/interior (Centre). 503 participants were included: 53 per cent males, 45 per cent < 30 years, and 55.1 per cent from Lisbon. Participants’ level of education varied: 31.9 per cent (0-6 years of schooling); 36.3 per cent (7–12 years of schooling); and 31.9 per cent (> 12 years of schooling). A questionnaire was used to collect the sociodemographic data. A Likert scale was self-administered to rate the characteristics of 12 randomized PLs (6 from prescription medicines and 6 from over-the-counter medicines) (August-December 2014). An invitation was send to several institutions (e.g., municipal councils). The inclusion criteria were: agreeing, be capable of reading/writing, and be more than 17 years old.

In the Likert scores obtained, no significant differences were found related to region, sex, marital status, age group (≥65 years and other), and employment status of participants. By contrast, significant differences were found related to education (2=42.747; p < 0.001), income (2=8.789; p=0.012), reading habits (2=8.581; p=0.014), and frequency of medicines use (2=6.965; p=0.031). The participants with >12 years of schooling, more regular reading habits (2 or more books/year), higher income and less frequent medicines use, showed a more negative global opinion on PLs.

Sociodemographic data are important to understand users’ opinion on PLs. It seems that more educated subjects are more demanding. A lower socio-economic status positively influenced the participants’ opinion, with subjects’ poorer education being a relevant factor in this population. A higher frequency of taking medicines also positively contributed to a better opinion, probably due to a greater familiarity with PLs.
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