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The research reported is the most thorough investigation to date on the effect of patient package inserts (PPIs). It represents a prospective study of the effects of various prototype PPIs on actual drug users. Drug information documents can vary radically in format, length, content, and style. To determine what type of document works best, it is desirable to conduct experiments that systematically vary such factors as the content, style, and format of the document while controlling for other factors. The research in this report applies such a strategy to study alternative leaflets for erythromycin, a commonly prescribed antibiotic used to treat infections. The results of three studies for this drug are presented, investigating the effects of six different structural variables: specificity of instructions, amount of explanation, writing style, risk emphasis, format, and reduced content (length). Also examined are the effects of receiving any PPI vs. receiving none.

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