Plain language prescriptions

Brilliant news today that researchers from the University of Leeds have come up with a new set of instructions for prescription medicines, and a great lesson on how language moves on, too. 50 years ago ‘drowsy’ could well have been a common way of saying you feel sleepy, but who uses it now?

It also says something about changing attitudes – ‘do not stop taking this medicine except on your doctor’s advice’ requires a respect for a doctor’s authority which is not necessarily true any more. It’s all too easy,  thanks to the internet, to find conflicting advice that will convince you to stop taking medicine if the side-effects or the tedium of taking it get too much.

‘Warning: Do not stop taking this medicine unless your doctor tells you to stop.’ reasserts the authority of the medical profession.

The new language should start to filter through to your medicine bottles in about six months.

A great example of how plain language is about more than simplifying words – it can help you adapt to changing attitudes too.

From a press release on OnMedica, as far as I can tell, and followed up in the Daily Mail and the Times.

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Corinne Pritchard

Corinne Pritchard

Information Designer at Simply Understand
I believe design and designers can and should make the world a better place. I love designing things that help people understand complex ideas.
Corinne Pritchard

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