Readability and Comprehensibility of Patient Information Leaflets for Antidiabetic Medications in Qatar

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Abstract

Background:The readability and comprehensibility of the patient information leaflets (PILs) provided with antidiabetic medications are of questionable standards; this issue negatively affects adherence to drug therapy, especially in patients with limited literacy skills. Objective: To evaluate the readability and comprehensibility of PILs supplied with medications used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus in Qatar. Methods: All PILs of the antidiabetic medications in Qatar were evaluated using the Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) score for readability. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Gunning-Fog Index, and SMOG Grading were used to estimate the comprehensibility of PILs in terms of school grade levels. Results: A total of 45 PILs were evaluated: 32 (71.1%) PILs of brand-name products and 13 (28.9%) for generics. Nine (20%) of the PILs were in English only; 8 (17.8%) were in English, Arabic, and French; and 28 (62.2%) were in English and Arabic. The mean FRE score was 37.71 (±15.85), and the most readable PIL had FRE score of 62. The mean scores for the comprehensibility evaluations were 10.96 (±2.67), 15.02 (±2.52), and 11.41 (±1.6) for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Gunning-Fog Index, and SMOG Grading, respectively. The most commonly used antidiabetic medication was metformin with 1372.9 (±552.9) as PILs’ mean number of words. Conclusion: Only 2.2% of PILs had acceptable readability scores. All PILs could be comprehended by at least an 11th grade student, which exceeds the recommended grade level for health-related materials. Approximately 20% of these PILs were in English only and were not readable by most patients.

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