A General Approach: 10 Guiding Principles

Ten Guiding Principles For Learning About Medicines

1. You have a right to appropriate information about your medicines that reflects your health status, capabilities, and culture.

2. You have a right to know. Make sure that your healthcare providers and health educators communicate directly with you about your medicines.

3. You should not feel intimidated to ask questions of your healthcare providers and other care givers about medicines and other therapies.

4. If you are uncertain how to take your medicines, make sure that your health care givers discuss and demonstrate the appropriate use of medicines.

5. You must take responsibility for your medicine use unless you are prevented by your health status or capabilities.

6. Your medicine education should take into account what you want to know about your medicines, as well as what your health professionals think you should know.

7. At a minimum, you should receive basic information about your medicines and their proper use.

8. Your medicine education should include information about the general use and misuse of medicines, as well as about the specific medicines you are using.

9. You have a right to information that will enable you to avoid poisoning or side effects through the misuse of your medicines.

10. If you are asked to participate in clinical trials, you have a right to receive appropriate information to promote your understanding before providing your assent and participation.

The principles were developed by the Division of Information Development, United States Pharmacopeia (www.usp.org), as a result of an open conference held in Washington, DC, in 1996.

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