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Researchers are calling for changes to prescription drug labels after publication of a study indicating that patients do not pay nearly enough attention to critical warning labels and instructions, which can be a key cause of medication errors.

According to a study conducted by researchers at Kansas State University and Michigan State University, consumers – particularly the elderly – do not pay attention to prescription warning labels and instructions because they are not attention catching. The study found that approximately 50 percent of people over 50 years of age did not notice a prescription warning and 22 percent of them did not read the warning label at all. In comparison, approximately 90 percent of those between the ages of 20 and 29 took time to read the labels of their prescription medication.

Researchers hope that the study can help them better understand consumer behavior so that they can design labeling standards that help patients safely and effectively use their prescription medication.

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