Comprehensibility of selected USP pictograms by illiterate and literate Farsi speakers: The first experience in Iran ? Part I

Amir Zargarzadeh, Sahar Ahamdi


Background: Good understanding of medication instructions is paramount to a good pharmaceutical care. Te aim of our study was to examine the understandability of the selected three most applicable pictograms by participants and their recall after educational mini sessions. Materials and Methods: First, nine experienced pharmacists selected the three most potentially applicable pictograms. Pictograms A to C were determined, respectively, “A?take medication with food,” “B?medication may cause  drowsiness,” and “C?take medication before sleep.” In the second phase, we measured the comprehensibility of pictograms by three groups of participants (sample of 358): highly educated participants of two major universities of Isfahan (Groups 1 and 2), low?literate and illiterate individuals (Groups 3 and 4), and the rest were participants interviewed in three teaching pharmacies afliated to the Isfahan School of Pharmacy (Group 5). Te American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and  International Organization for Standardization (ISO) were used to compare the comprehensibility of pictograms. Furthermore, fve qualitative questions were asked about the impact of pictograms on several parameters. Results: In the pre?follow?up period, only Group 1 (75%) understood pictogram A while pictogram B did not pass the ANSI and ISO thresholds for acceptability in none of the groups. In the pre?follow?up period,
Groups 1 and 2 surpassed the ANSI threshold and Group 5 passed the ISO limit for C. In the post?follow?up period, C passed the ISO limit in Group 3. Regarding the qualitative questions, 84.1% believed that pictograms had positive impact on the correct use of medications and timing of  dministration. Conclusion: Te groups with high level of literacy interpreted the pictograms better than those with lower levels of literacy.


Comprehensibility, pharmacy, pictograms

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