Background Delivering information effectively to patients is essential for medications such as prednisolone, where dosing is complex and other drugs need to be taken to mitigate against potential side effects. Patients with Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) are treated with a decreasing prednisolone regimen. Patients are usually elderly, unwell and vulnerable and in need of clear and straightforward information. Only a proportion of verbal information is retained. Written information leaflets can be overwhelming, especially for those with poor literacy skills. Pictorial leaflets have proven useful in our department for drugs such as methotrexate, sulphasalazine and leflunomide.
Objectives We hypothesised that a pictorial leaflet would be useful for early GCA patients where a complex prednisolone regimen and the need for additional drugs must be understood.
Methods A colour pictorial leaflet was designed to supplement the Arthritis Research UK written information for prednisolone. The A5 leaflet contains photographs of the prednisolone tablets to be taken for each dose. The design allows the clinician to enter the start date for each dose and indicate the desired dosing regimen. Photographs of the additional tablets to be taken, along with clear dosing information and indications, are shown on the reverse of the leaflet. These are alendronic acid, calcium and vitamin D, omeprazole and aspirin as per British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) guidelines for GCA1. Pictorial leaflets were shown to patients who were taking or had taken prednisolone treatment. Leaflets were also sent to local General Practitioners (GPs). Patient and GP feedback was obtained using separate questionnaires.
Results 37 patients completed feedback. 24 (65%) could not recall being given written information when prednisolone was started. 37 (100%) thought the pictorial information leaflet was clear and easy to read. 33 (89%) rated the pictorial leaflet as more useful than standard written leaflets. Many patients commented that the simplicity and clarity of the leaflet made it a useful memory aid. Feedback was received from 34 GPs. 33 (97%) thought the leaflet was clear and easy for patients to follow. 34 (100%) thought the leaflet would be useful for patients to receive alongside standard written information.
Conclusions Patients find pictorial information leaflets clear and easy to follow. For medications with complex dosing and when multiple drugs are prescribed, pictorial leaflets are a useful adjunct to standard written information. Our leaflet allows the desired prednisolone regimen to be clearly recorded and serves as a patient’s personal memory aid. It also highlights important information about osteoprotective, gastroprotective and cardioprotective medications prescribed for GCA.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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