Good patient education supports improved outcomes and an efficient, cost-effective healthcare system. In the highly regulated, fast-paced pharmaceutical industry, the challenges that medical writers face in writing for patients are multi-fold. Patient education can be confusing given the wealth of new technologies in healthcare communications, combined with patients being more involved in decisions about their health, and different national and international guidelines and legislations to be adhered to. Furthermore, writers face complexities of trying to meet the needs of diverse populations of patients and specific individuals. In this article, we discuss the importance of effective patient education activities for specific phases of the product lifecycle (from clinical trial participation through to prescribed medicines) and of the patient journey (from disease awareness and diagnosis through to living with long-term chronic illness). The considerations and constraints of developing educational content for patients, and practical guidance for writing such materials are discussed.