How effective are pictograms in communicating risk to patients who drive under the influence of medicines?

Monteiro, S.P., Huiskes, R., Weert, J. van, Dijk, L. van, Gier, J. de. How effective are pictograms in communicating risk to patients who drive under the influence of medicines? Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety: 2011, 20(suppl. 1) S218. Abstract. 27th International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management, 14-17 Augustus 2011, Chicago.
Background: Risk communication is a two way exchange of information, leading to a better understanding of risk. It can make use of pictograms which help patients to make decisions about their medicines. This study is part of the DRUID* project and will make use of pictograms related with medicines and driving. Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of a pictogram in communicating risk associated with driving impairing medicines to patients. To assess patients’ level of understanding, and intention to change behaviour by looking at various pictograms. Methods: Two studies using a 2x3 design were conducted. In the first study, the respondents (patients visiting a community pharmacy with a driving license) were exposed to a condition in which the pictogram (DRUID or homologue French pictogram) and the risk category (category I, II or III) were manipulated. In this study, both pictograms were accompanied by the same side-text. In the second study, the added value of the side-text was examined. Here, the respondents were exposed to a DRUID pictogram with or without side-text and again one of the three risk categories. Results: 50.7% of the respondents were male with a mean age of 48.4 years-old and with a high education level (45.6%). After observing both DRUID and French pictograms, respondents recognized the risk of driving while taking driving impairing medicines: 78.8% of the respondents were likely to change their behaviour and 36.3% said they would drive less frequently in the presence of a medicine with such pictograms. 40.7% wouldn’t drive anymore. Patients showed preference for the 3 categories presented in the DRUID pictogram and 73.3% of the respondents felt that the side-text of the DRUID pictogram was helpful. Conclusions: Both pictograms seem to be effective in communicating risk. With the DRUID pictogram there is a clear and direct correlation between the likelihood of changing driving behaviour and the level of impairment of a medicine: the higher the category, the more likely to change driving frequency (by driving less frequently). The DRUID pictogram was preferred over the French one. (aut. ref.)