Randomized controlled trial evaluating pictogram augmentation of HIV medication information.
ABSTRACT Antiretroviral therapy for the management of HIV typically requires the chronic use of 3 or more medications. As such, patients with HIV are required to manage complex dosing schedules and are at risk of multiple potential adverse effects. The use of pictograms on medication vials as a means of improving patients' understanding of medication information has been shown to positively influence understanding and adherence compared to those using text alone.
To determine whether pictograms (Pharmaglyph) increase patient recall of targeted information associated with HIV medications and whether patients can interpret the intended meaning of pictograms that they had not seen previously.
A randomized, controlled trial was conducted in HIV-positive patients aged 19 years or older who were receiving a new prescription for an antiretroviral medication from the ambulatory pharmacy at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Participants were randomized to receive either pictogram-enhanced medication information or standard counseling. At the first follow-up visit, each patient's recall of the medication information was evaluated, and differences between groups were compared.
Eighty-two subjects were randomized, 40 to the intervention group and 42 to the control arm. The mean (SD) number of HIV medications was nearly equal between the intervention and control groups: 3.0 (1.5) and 3.1 (1.4), respectively. After a mean of 34 days, 33 patients in the intervention arm and 39 in the control arm completed the study. The majority (88%) of the targeted pieces of information in the intervention group were correctly identified at follow-up, compared to only 2% in the control group (Fisher exact test; p < 0.0001).
Pictograms improve the recall of targeted medication information among patients receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV management; however, this appears to be dependent on the fact that these patients received a verbal explanation of each pictogram prior to use.