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What's in the bottle? (Example 2)

(Insulin R, Insulin N) Here is another example of manufacturers packaging different stuff in nearly identical bottles. The example shows two bottles containing different doses of insulin for treating diabetes. In this case, the consequences of choosing the wrong bottle are much more serious. You could end up in the hospital.

The bottle on the left contains Insulin R (for Regular Insulin). Regular Insulin acts relatively fast (over a 4 to 6 hour period) and is generally meant to be taken before a meal. The bottle on the right contains Insulin N (for NPH Insulin). NPH Insulin acts over a broader span of time and more slowly (e.g., a 12 to 18 hour period) and is meant to be taken generally once or twice during a 24 hour period to keep a diabetics' blood glucose from rising significantly.

Many diabetics use R (regular) insulin in conjunction with N or some other long-acting insulin. The consequences of accidently taking Insulin R instead of Insulin N at bedtime would be serious because you could end up having a hypoglycemic reaction during the middle of the night (i.e., extremely low blood glucose levels). Thus, choosing the wrong insulin could be a very serious and possibly deadly mistake.

You would think that the manufacturers would make the two different kinds of insulin bottles a bit more distinguishable than simply differing by one character and one small symbol. This is particularly true for diabetics since some of the common side-effects of diabetes are are vision problems. For a similar bad design example see: What's in the bottle? (Example 1)

Design suggestion

Things that need to be distinguished from each other should differ by more than just a single feature. For example, the bottles could have different shapes and sizes to make them more distinguishable.

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