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drug labels

02 May The accuracy of drug labels

The translation of anything related to drugs must always be carefully done. PIL – Patient information leaflets – medical prescriptions… but drug labels too. The contained data is really important, as it appears key information for the patient. In other words, the medical translation of drug labels is essential and accuracy is a must.

What is the aim of drug labels?

  • Describe and identify the drug.
  • Contribute to an optimal therapeutic result and avoid medication errors.
  • Aim a proper handling and an adequate storage.
  • Allow the identification of the medicine if any production, prescription or dispensation issue occurs.
What is the aim of drug labels?
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Having these four key ideas in mind, the accuracy of medical translation seems even more necessary. But, what information does a drug label contain? Or what can be found on a drug label?

  • The name of the drug, both the generic and the trade one. For an accurate medical translation, translators must take a look on the vademecum and get the right term.
  • Brief explanation. It also appears a brief explanation of the drug in order for the patient to know what is it used for. And it can be really useful, especially for elderly people and patients having several stored drugs. The text usually recurs to technical vocabulary, as accuracy is key.
  • Drug company reference. Some contact information must appear on drug labels. This is really important because – if any problem occurs – the patient (or the medical centre) will easily know how to solve the issue. For example, in case of ingestion, overdose or side effects. Additionally, a reference for the product is key for quickly localising the medicine. So, the translator should pay careful attention to this information for avoiding potential misspellings.
  • Some drug labels include warnings and side effects; others directly refer to the patient information leaflet for further information.

It may depend on the country regulations, but generally in a label drug it also appears some other useful and key information, as the lot, the expiration date, the medicine quantity, a bar code… All this data are essential for the patient’s health. Accuracy is vital and any mistake can result in danger for the individual taking such medicine, so the role played by medical translators in the translation of drug labels is essential.

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