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Patient Educ Couns. 2004 Sep;54(3):361-8.

Information versus experience: a comparison of an information leaflet on antidepressants with lay experience of treatment.

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Department of Medicines Management, Keele University, Staffs ST5 5BG, UK.


The quality of patient information leaflets has been criticised for being too medico centred. Written information produced by a patient organisation should be tailored to members' expressed needs, and based on their experience and therefore useful in helping patients to self-manage their condition. Views expressed in semi-structured interviews with 30 members of a self help group for depression were compared with the content of an antidepressant leaflet produced by the parent organisation. The information leaflet used six frequently asked questions to deliver a biomedical discourse on antidepressants. Members of the group had questions not included in the leaflet around self help, stigma and sense of self, and more complex answers to the six questions. It cannot be assumed that information leaflets written by lay led organisations are patient centred and promote self help. To assist in facilitating concordance between patient and prescriber medicine information leaflets should draw on patient experience of the condition and treatment for it.

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