Standard drug monographs (SDMs) have been described as deficient in providing information in a manner simplified enough for patient reading. The aim of this study was to design patient information leaflets for hydrochlorothiazide, nifedipine and enalapril with content indicated by patients as relevant and to evaluate them against the SDM. Patient information leaflet (PIL) for each drug was designed to contain information on name, use of drug, how it works, how it is to be taken, common side effects, storage, missed dose action, things to avoid and when to contact the physician. Appropriateness was assessed by 10 practising pharmacists. For each drug, 40 patients were recruited, of which 20 were given SDM and 20 PIL. The knowledge of each participant was examined before and after exposure to SDM or PIL, as well as opinion on ease of reading and attractiveness using Pearson’s Chi-square analysis. The results showed that both SDM and PIL improved knowledge of common side effects when compared with responses before exposure (χ2 = 24.26 for SDM and 27.64 for PIL, p < 0.001) with no difference between the groups. Respondents receiving PILs were better able to recall “things to avoid” after exposure to PIL (χ2 =10.85, p < 0.001). After exposure to SDM or PIL, the respondents who received PIL were more aware of when to contact the physician, compared to the SDM group (χ2 = 8.41, p < 0.01). When compared with SDM, respondents receiving PIL were more likely to indicate that PIL was easy to read (χ2 = 20.00, p < 0.001), attractive (χ2 = 12.45, p < 0.001) and they were more likely to recommend distribution of their reading material to other patients (χ2 = 22.11, p < 0.001). We conclude that there is benefit in designing information leaflets that simplify language and medication information contained in SDMs, including better understanding of precautions to take while on medication and when to consult physicians.