Explicit and Standardized Prescription Medicine Instructions

Explicit, standardized instructions improve patients’ understanding, and possibly reduce errors while improving adherence. These tested instructions for pills follow the Universal Medication Schedule (UMS), which simplifies complex medicine regimens by using standard time periods for administration (morning, noon, evening, and bedtime). These instructions have also been translated into Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

To improve patients' understanding, and possibly reduce errors while improving adherence, AHRQ grantee Michael Wolf, Ph.D, and colleagues developed and tested a set of explicit, standardized instructions for taking pills. The instructions follow the Universal Medication Schedule (UMS), which simplifies complex medicine regimens by using standard time periods for administration (morning, noon, evening, and bedtime). See below for instructions, along with translations into five languages.

Wolf and colleagues developed these instructions in response to research that has shown that more explicit prescription medicine instructions are better understood than instructions that are vague or require an individual to calculate when to take a medicine. Simplification and standardization were also goals of the new instructions. Studies have shown that errors are more likely with more complex regimens. Research has also shown that clinicians write instructions in many different ways, which in turn are transmitted by electronic health systems that support such variation to pharmacies. Consistent instructions could reduce confusion and help patients more safely use multi-drug regimens.

The California Endowment funded the translation of the set of explicit standardized instructions into Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Translated instructions were tested with speakers of those languages who had limited English proficiency. While every effort was made to ensure accuracy and reliability of these translations, each pharmacy and pharmacist should confirm the validity and the medical appropriateness of any given translation for a particular patient before using it for the patient's drug label.

For more information about the explicit, standardized prescription medicine, contact Dr. Michael Wolf at mswolf@northwestern.edu.

For more information on the translation of the instructions to other languages, contact Dr. Stacy Bailey at scbailey@email.unc.edu.

For more information about the AHRQ-funded trial of patient-centered labels that used these instructions, view the article, "Rationale and design of a randomized trial to evaluate an evidence-based prescription drug label on actual medication use." The abstract is available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20647058.

ENGLISH CHINESE
Take 1 pill at bedtime 睡前服一粒藥丸
Take 2 pills at bedtime 睡前服兩粒藥丸
Take 3 pills at bedtime 睡前服三粒藥丸
Take 1 pill in the morning 早上服一粒藥丸
Take 2 pills in the morning 早上服兩粒藥丸
Take 3 pills in the morning 早上服三粒藥丸
Take 1 pill in the morning and

1 pill at bedtime
早上服一粒藥丸和

睡前服一粒藥丸
Take 2 pills in the morning and

2 pills at bedtime
早上服兩粒藥丸和

睡前服兩粒藥丸
Take 3 pills in the morning and

3 pills at bedtime
早上服三粒藥丸和

睡前服三粒藥丸
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill in the evening
早上服一粒藥丸

中午服一粒藥丸和

傍晚服一粒藥丸
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills in the evening
早上服兩粒藥丸

中午服兩粒藥丸和

傍晚服兩粒藥丸
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills in the evening
早上服三粒藥丸

中午服三粒藥丸和

傍晚服三粒藥丸
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill at bedtime
早上服一粒藥丸

中午服一粒藥丸和

睡前服一粒藥丸
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills at bedtime
早上服兩粒藥丸

中午服兩粒藥丸和

睡前服兩粒藥丸
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills at bedtime
早上服三粒藥丸

中午服三粒藥丸和

睡前服三粒藥丸

 

ENGLISH KOREAN
Take 1 pill at bedtime 취침 전 1 알을 복용하십시오
Take 2 pills at bedtime 취침 전 2 알을 복용하십시오
Take 3 pills at bedtime 취침 전 3 알을 복용하십시오
Take 1 pill in the morning 아침에 1 알을 복용하십시오
Take 2 pills in the morning 아침에 2 알을 복용하십시오
Take 3 pills in the morning 아침에 3 알을 복용하십시오
Take 1 pill in the morning and

1 pill at bedtime
아침에 1 알,

취침 전 1 알씩 복용하십시오
Take 2 pills in the morning and

2 pills at bedtime
아침에 2 알,

취침 전 2 알씩 복용하십시오
Take 3 pills in the morning and

3 pills at bedtime
아침에 3 알,

취침 전 3 알씩 복용하십시오
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill in the evening
아침에 1 알,

정오에 1 알,

저녁에 1 알씩 복용하십시오
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills in the evening
아침에 2 알,

정오에 2 알,

저녁에 2 알씩 복용하십시오
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills in the evening
아침에 3 알,

정오에 3 알,

저녁에 3 알씩 복용하십시오
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill at bedtime
아침에 1 알,

정오에 1 알,

취침 전 1 알씩 복용하십시오
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills at bedtime
아침에 2 알,

정오에 2 알,

취침 전 2 알씩 복용하십시오
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills at bedtime
아침에 3 알,

정오에 3 알,

취침 전 3 알씩 복용하십시오

 

ENGLISH RUSSIAN
Take 1 pill at bedtime Принимать по 1 таблетке перед сном
Take 2 pills at bedtime Принимать по 2 таблетки перед сном
Take 3 pills at bedtime Принимать по 3 таблетки перед сном
Take 1 pill in the morning Принимать по 1 таблетке утром
Take 2 pills in the morning Принимать по 2 таблетки утром
Take 3 pills in the morning Принимать по 3 таблетки утром
Take 1 pill in the morning and

1 pill at bedtime
Принимать по 1 таблетке утром и

по 1 таблетке перед сном
Take 2 pills in the morning and

2 pills at bedtime
Принимать по 2 таблетки утром и

по 2 таблетки перед сном
Take 3 pills in the morning and

3 pills at bedtime
Принимать по 3 таблетки утром и

по 3 таблетки перед сном
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill in the evening
Принимать по 1 таблетке утром,

по 1 таблетке в полдень и

по 1 таблетке вечером
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills in the evening
Принимать по 2 таблетки утром,

по 2 таблетки в полдень и

по 2 таблетки вечером
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills in the evening
Принимать по 3 таблетки утром,

по 3 таблетки в полдень и

по 3 таблетки вечером
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill at bedtime
Принимать по 1 таблетке утром,

по 1 таблетке в полдень,

по 1 таблетке перед сном
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills at bedtime
Принимать по 2 таблетки утром,

по 2 таблетки в полдень,

по 2 таблетки перед сном
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills at bedtime
Принимать по 3 таблетки утром,

по 3 таблетки в полдень,

по 3 таблетки перед сном

 

ENGLISH SPANISH
Take 1 pill at bedtime Tome 1 pastilla a la hora de acostarse
Take 2 pills at bedtime Tome 2 pastillas a la hora de acostarse
Take 3 pills at bedtime Tome 3 pastillas a la hora de acostarse
Take 1 pill in the morning Tome 1 pastilla por la mañana
Take 2 pills in the morning Tome 2 pastillas por la mañana
Take 3 pills in the morning Tome 3 pastillas por la mañana
Take 1 pill in the morning and

1 pill at bedtime
Tome 1 pastilla por la mañana y

Tome 1 pastilla a la hora de acostarse
Take 2 pills in the morning and

2 pills at bedtime
Tome 2 pastillas por la mañana y

Tome 2 pastillas a la hora de acostarse
Take 3 pills in the morning and

3 pills at bedtime
Tome 3 pastillas por la mañana y

Tome 3 pastillas a la hora de acostarse
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill in the evening
Tome 1 pastilla por la mañana,

1 pastilla al mediodía y

1 pastilla al atardecer
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills in the evening
Tome 2 pastillas por la mañana,

2 pastillas al mediodía y

2 pastillas al atardecer
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills in the evening
Tome 3 pastillas por la mañana,

3 pastillas al mediodía y

3 pastillas al atardecer
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill at bedtime
Tome 1 pastilla por la mañana,

1 pastilla al mediodía,

1 pastilla a la hora de acostarse
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills at bedtime
Tome 2 pastillas por la mañana,

2 pastillas al mediodía,

2 pastillas a la hora de acostarse
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills at bedtime
Tome 3 pastillas por la mañana,

3 pastillas al mediodía,

3 pastillas a la hora de acostarse

 

ENGLISH VIETNAMESE
Take 1 pill at bedtime U6ng 1 viên trưcc khi đi ngu
Take 2 pills at bedtime U6ng 2 viên trưcc khi đi ngu
Take 3 pills at bedtime U6ng 3 viên trưcc khi đi ngu
Take 1 pill in the morning U6ng 1 viên vào bu6i sáng
Take 2 pills in the morning U6ng 2 viên vào bu6i sáng
Take 3 pills in the morning U6ng 3 viên vào bu6i sáng
Take 1 pill in the morning and

1 pill at bedtime
U6ng 1 viên vào bu6i sáng và

1 viên trưcc khi đi ngu
Take 2 pills in the morning and

2 pills at bedtime
U6ng 2 viên vào bu6i sáng và

2 viên trưcc khi đi ngu
Take 3 pills in the morning and

3 pills at bedtime
U6ng 3 viên vào bu6i sáng và

3 viên trưcc khi đi ngu
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill in the evening
U6ng 1 viên vào bu6i sáng,

1 viên vào bu6i trưa, và

1 viên vào bu6i t6i
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills in the evening
U6ng 2 viên vào bu6i sáng,

2 viên vào bu6i trưa, và

2 viên vào bu6i t6i
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills in the evening
U6ng 3 viên vào bu6i sáng,

3 viên vào bu6i trưa, và

3 viên vào bu6i t6i
Take 1 pill in the morning

1 pill at noon and

1 pill at bedtime
U6ng 1 viên vào bu6i sáng,

1 viên vào bu6i trưa, và

1 viên trưcc khi đi ngu
Take 2 pills in the morning

2 pills at noon and

2 pills at bedtime
U6ng 2 viên vào bu6i sáng,

2 viên vào bu6i trưa, và

2 viên trưcc khi đi ngu
Take 3 pills in the morning

3 pills at noon and

3 pills at bedtime
U6ng 3 viên vào bu6i sáng,

3 viên vào bu6i trưa, và

3 viên trưcc khi đi ngu
Page last reviewed December 2014
Internet Citation: Explicit and Standardized Prescription Medicine Instructions. Content last reviewed December 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/pharmhealthlit/prescriptionmed-instr.html