To help prevent medicine misuse, health professionals now voluntarily distribute leaflets that give patients more and better information about their prescription drugs. Information in the leaflets must include the medicine's uses approved by FDA, directions for correct use, and possible side effects. It must be scientifically accurate, unbiased, specific, complete, understandable, up-to-date, and useful. And doctors or pharmacists may add information about a use not approved by FDA (or "off-label" use) when necessary for an individual patient. With computer software on medicine information widely available, pharmacists can easily generate the leaflets.
Pharmacists or their assistants are required to offer prescription medicine counseling to Medicaid patients and review their medicine usage. Mail-order pharmacies must provide toll-free telephone service. The offer to counsel must include all important aspects of the medicine: its description, dosage form, length of treatment, special directions, common severe side effects, interactions and their avoidance or remedy, storage, the way to handle a missed dose, and techniques for self-monitoring treatment.