Medicines in My Home
Medicines in My Home (MIMH) isa new educationalprogram about thesafe and effective use ofOTC medicines developedby the FDA to provide practicalteaching tools and informationto enable adolescentsand adults to make careful andcorrect medicine use decisions.The lesson and materials are writtenat a 6th to 7th grade readinglevel and focus on teachingpatients to use the "Drug Facts" label. All program materials can beaccessed through the Internet anddownloaded for local presentation.Pharmacists and other health careprofessionals can refer patients tothe Web site, where they can eitheruse the program materials on-line ordownload them. The MIMH programcan also be useful to pharmacistswhen speaking to studentsor adult communitygroups about medicine-relatedissues.
Published studies suggestthat some childrenstart to self-medicate at 11or 12 years of age, and thatuse of OTC medicineamong adolescents is common.Focus groups and studies examiningadult understanding of medicinelabels and OTC medicine use suggestthat adult patients may also benefit fromsimple, comprehensible informationabout safe medicine use.
With input from Maryland's MontgomeryCounty Public Schools healtheducators, the FDA originally developedMIMH as an in-classroom lesson for 6th to8th graders. It was piloted in 25 6th gradeclasses during the 2005-2006 schoolyear. The lesson has been successfullytaught by FDA physicians, nurses, andeducators and by health educationteachers. Currently, most MIMH materialsare directed toward teachers andstudents.
The MIMH Web site is located atwww.fda.gov/medsinmyhome and isorganized into "rooms." The Teachers' Room provides a brief introduction to theprogram, key concepts, and learningobjectives. The Teacher's Kit contains alinked list to all lesson teaching materialsincluding an animated slide presentationwith slide notes, a mock Drug Facts label,a take-home booklet and learning activity,and student assessment materials(pretest, posttest, and in-class worksheet).It also provides links to additionalon-line resources that offer relatedinformation on the use of medicines.The Students' Room provides a doctor'svisit sheet called "All About Me" thatchildren (and adults) may use to writedown important information to discusswith their health care professionals atan upcoming visit. On-line puzzlesand games are also located in theStudents' Room.
The current materials availableon-line can be easily adapted forpresentation to a variety of audiences.During the coming year, programdevelopment will focus on creatingmore interactive learningopportunities on the Web site,adapting current presentation andlearning materials to adult audiences,and developing resourcesthat support parents in teachingtheir children about wise medicine-usedecisions. Future developmentsmay include an OTC medicinesJeopardy-like game andinteractive activities thatfamiliarize Web site visitorswith correct use of the DrugFacts label and providepractice with medicine-usedecisions through scenarios.Before the end of 2006,an on-line animated slidepresentation and MIMHbooklet geared toward adult audienceswill be posted.
The MIMH program seeks to equippatients with the knowledge and toolsthey need to establish healthy and informeddecision-making habits fromthe time they start making self-medicationdecisions.
Medicines In My Home: www.fda.gov/medsinmyhome
Dr. Feibus is a medical officer with theFDA's Office of NonprescriptionProducts.