Frustrated with television drug ads and labels that trumpet a product’s potential benefits but bury the risks in tiny print? Thanks to a recommendation by an advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), drug fact boxes—concise summaries of a drug’s benefits and side effects—may soon appear on your prescription medication.

A husband-wife research team, Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin, suggested using drug fact boxes on meds after they conducted a study at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in New Hampshire.

During the study, researchers altered the product names of prominent heartburn drugs Prisolec and Pepcid to “Maxtor” and “Amcid” respectively. This was done so that consumers would view them free of preconceived notions. The team also created a drug fact box for each, accurately describing Maxtor as a proton-pump inhibitor that blocks production of stomach acid. The drug fact box described Amcid as an H-2 blocker that controls acid through a mechanism that is less effective than proton-pump inhibitors.

Although all the study subjects were shown picture ads for both products, half were shown the drug fact box. The other half received the standard small-print drug information page.

At the end of the study, 68 percent of the subjects who read the drug fact box chose Maxtor, the more effective drug. Only 31 percent of those who read ad information alone chose the more effective drug.

Schwartz and Woloshin concluded that consumers presented with information in a comprehensive way are more likely to make better prescription drug choices.