June 1982

Public Judgments of Information in a Diazepam Patient Package Insert

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(6):707-711. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290060055011

• As part of a larger study of the effects of giving patients written take-home information with prescription medications, a "patient package insert" (PPI) for diazepam was prepared based on content determined by "experts." This report compares the experts' judgments of what information should be included with judgments obtained from the public. Information judged to be most important for inclusion in a PPI was identified by having subjects sort cards containing facts about diazepam. Subjects who had previously used diazepam were no different in their judgments than inexperienced subjects. In general, there was a high degree of concordance between public and expert judgments and also a remarkably strong consensus across very different demographic samples. In those few instances of disagreement, the public attached even greater importance to warnings and "bad news" about diazepam than to information providing reassurances, benign general education, and "good news." To what extent patients would effectively use this information—whether conveyed by PPIs or alternative educational routes—must await empirical evaluation.