Package inserts give valuable information to patients regarding their medication. Usually, this includes prescribing information, also called professional information.
Prescribing information includes:
- Brand and name of drug
- Potency and/or ingredients
- Standard of manufacture and manufacturer or sponsor
- Function of the drug
- Precautions or warnings
- Dosage and instructions for administering the drug
- Storage information
- Date prepared and preparations available
Package inserts also help health care professionals, as they include things like special instructions for drugs that require specific dispensing like injection. In many cases, a separate document specifically for consumer or patient information is included, either separate from or as part of the package insert. Read on for a few things to know about package inserts if you’re pursuing studies and a career in regulatory affairs!
They Help Keep People Safe
Package inserts serve the important purpose of keeping people safe and secure when taking their medication. For patients to have the best results and most security, they need to follow instructions. When package inserts include the following information, they help keep patients safe:
- Indications: This names conditions and uses that the drug is meant for. Patients can consult this section to see if their condition is included. If not, it may still be the right drug for them—it’s common to use medicine for different types of conditions that are sometimes not included.
- Administration: There are sometimes different instructions regarding the administration of a drug, depending on the disease or condition that a patient is using it for. Sometimes the instructions are also altered for children, or for seniors.
- Dosage: In a lot of cases, dosage of a drug changes over time. This is because many medications require a smaller amount at first, followed by an increase towards the amount needed for the full effect. This approach can help decrease side effects.
If you’re looking at careers in regulatory affairs that might be right for you, it’s likely that you already care a great deal about the safety and well-being of others. Without professionals in this field, rules can be overlooked or frameworks can be ignored. This creates an unsafe industry and endangers patients and consumers.
Careers in Regulatory Affairs Are Also Concerned With What Not To Do
Safety isn’t just about what should be done with a drug—it’s also about what shouldn’t be done. Package inserts often list contraindications.
- Contraindications are the cases in which a patient shouldn’t take a specific drug, because it is not safe.
Contraindications can protect patients from:
- Allergic reactions
- Undesirable or damaging effects due to the drug interacting with other medications
- Harmful side effects due to a drug being taken when the patient has other medical conditions
In addition, it’s important that patients know when to stop taking their medication, even if it was initially considered safe to take. This is why side effects are listed as warnings, with enough information so that patients can recognize the symptoms if they occur.
Certain people will need more supervision with drugs, and this information comes in the form of a warning or precaution as well. Health professionals, students in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, and patients should also be aware of:
- Testing that needs to be done during the time a patient is taking the drug
- Warnings about pregnancy while taking the drug
- Whether activities like operating heavy machinery are more dangerous while the drug is being taken
- Foods and other items that shouldn’t be ingested while on the medication
Are you looking at regulatory affairs programs?
Contact AAPS to learn about our courses.