Have Low Vision and Can’t Read Prescription Labels? There IS Help!

Even people with perfect vision have trouble reading the tiny print on prescription bottle labels. What do you do if you have a vision impairment? Do you find that even with a magnifier the labels are hard to read? Luckily, there are several ways you can get help.

Braille, large print, and talking prescription labels

Many U.S. pharmacies offer 1 or all 3 types of prescription bottle labels:

Participating pharmacies provide them free of charge. You can also get the instructions in these formats. If you can't find a pharmacy that will do this, there are also systems where you can create your own labels.

Talking labels from ScripTalk

ScripTalk (you may find it as two words Script Talk or as Scriptalk where the ‘t’ is not capitalized) is a free service available from many U.S. pharmacies and as of February 2020 also in Canada. They provide braille and large print labels as well as talking labels.

What can you find out from the talking labels?

What is ScripTalk? It’s a system with a label and a label reader which are both provided free from En-Vision America through the pharmacy. What you will hear from your talking label is:

  • Drug name
  • Dosage and instructions
  • Warnings and contraindications
  • Pharmacy information
  • Doctor name
  • Prescription number and date

The ScripTalk system

There are 2 parts to the system:

  • The label which is provided by the pharmacy.
  • The device or app to read the label.

It can be either:

  • A reader that is easy to use. Just press a button and put the label over the reader; OR
  • Smartphone with ScripTalk mobile app for both Android and Apple devices. You can even order a sample bottle with a talking label to see how the system works!

Watch a demonstration

Sam Seavey, a contributing author for this site and YouTube vlogger (video blogger) of the Blind Life channel has a great video about how this works.

Find a pharmacy

As I write this, there are more than 20,000 people using this system. Since 2012, Walmart and Sam’s Club alone has 1,200 store pharmacies where ScripTalk is available. Other pharmacies include CVS (Through Caremark their mail-order pharmacy), many insurance companies' mail-order pharmacies (Cigna, Aetna, Humana, and others), Publix, Rite Aid, and MANY more.

To find a pharmacy near you, you can search for ‘scriptalk available pharmacy.’ You’ll be asked to enter your zip code and distance range. You can also search for braille and large print label availability.

Veterans

The Veterans Administration calls ScripTalk an ‘Audible Prescription Reading Device’ (APRD). They provide a system for qualified veterans. Check with your outpatient pharmacy.

Other options and services

You can send for a kit to use to demonstrate the system to your group.

You can also get talking labels for your guide dog medications! How cool is that? 🙂

Alternative methods

As usual, my article is getting LONG! I am really working hard to avoid that so as to not put you, the reader, to sleep! 🙂 If your pharmacy doesn’t offer the ScripTalk system, there are systems that you can buy to do your own.

You can, however, ask your pharmacy if they offer color-coded labels for the days of the week or other assistance for managing your medications.

Do you use any of these labeling systems? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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