Pill reminders – Can they help you take your pills on time?

pill reminders

Pill reminder and pill-tracking app is the new mantra used by researchers to improve medication adherence in patients.  

A 2016 poll conducted by Popit Research Labs showed that around 40% of voters relied on their memory to track their pill usage while almost 60% used some form of external pill reminder. Also, multiple studies are suggesting the rise in medication non-adherence due to forgetfulness. There is clearly a need for an external source to keep track of one’s medication usage.

pill reminders

Popit Research Labs, 2016

Do pill reminders work?

With the rise in pill reminder solutions, the first question that pops into your mind is – Do pill reminders actually help? Can they help you take your medications on time? 

According to a randomised clinical trial done in 2018, to check the impact of medication reminder apps to improve medication adherence in a Coronary Heart Disease study, adherence improvement for app users seemed to be ~7.2%. It was concluded that patients who used medication reminder apps had better medication adherence compared to those with usual care.

A study by Cochrane on interventions for medication adherence in the elderly concluded that behavioural and educational interventions along with the aid of simple strategies such as using pill reminders may lead to greater satisfaction in medication management in the elderly.

In a poll conducted by Popit, almost 50% of the users confirmed they have some kind of reminders for pills and they find these useful in tracking their pills for birth control. In a clinical pilot together with a leading university hospital, their pill reminder solution was able to reduce missed pills by over 80% and help build a solid routine around pill-taking.

pill reminders

Popit Research Labs, 2016

Which is the most effective pill reminder?

With the internet being flooded with various pill reminders apps and medication trackers, how do you know if these are effective or not?  Does it really make sense to invest in one? If yes, then which one?

Pill dispensers are cheap, but using a pill dispenser is more or less relying on your memory. On the other hand, smartphone alarms are free, but most people end up ignoring these alarms as constant notifications can get annoying after a while.

smart sensing device could be another option that you can rely on. This is the world’s first and only tracker for a pill blister that comes with built-in sensors. It can sense when you pop a pill off the blister and notifies you only when you miss a pill. Which means, if you take the pill, you don’t get the daily annoying reminders. Also, there is no manual input needed to keep a track of your pill usage. 

We compiled a comparison chart so you can evaluate which solution is best for you.

pill reminders

Pill Reminders

How do pill reminders help?

Medication cannot work as intended if it is not taken as prescribed. Consistency and taking pills according to guidance play a key role in any treatment.

Some of the cases where pill reminders have proven to be beneficial include:

1. Avoiding unwanted pregnancy 

pill reminders

The risk of pregnancy with a typical birth control pill use is 9% and the pill is 99% efficient only when used perfectly.

By perfect use, it means you have to take the pill every day without fail. You must also take it at the same time day after day. In a recent survey conducted by Popit, more than 1 in 12 women on the pill may have experienced an unintended pregnancy due to missing a pill.

2. Medication adherence in chronic health conditions

Medication non-adherence in chronic health conditions is a recognized public health problem. According to a study conducted by NCBI on unintentional non-adherence of prescribed medication, more than 60% of the test group forgot to take their pills on time.

3. Improved parental or caregiver medication adherence 

To keep a track of someone’s medication is more challenging than managing one’s own treatment. You can easily manage this when you have an app that can notify you whenever they miss their pills.

So, do you need one?

Pill Reminders

Evolution of pill reminders

From the humble reminders such as markings on a calendar to smart sensing devices, pill reminders have evolved over the years. This also confirms the need for an external source to track pill usage apart from relying on one’s memory. Multiple studies are also supporting this claim saying it could be one of the ways to improve adherence in patients.

Pill reminder solutions are usually a one time purchase and cost less than a good pair of sneakers. They are the most reliable alternative to ensuring you take your medicines on time and stay on track. These can also be a thoughtful gift for your loved ones. For, after all, there is no greater gift that you can give or receive than to stay healthy or investing in the good health of your loved ones. 

(In a clinical pilot – DOI: 10.15761/COGRM.1000217, conducted by a team of doctor’s including Henna Kärkkäinen, MD, Ph.D, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Heikki Matero Ph.M, Janne Sahlman MD, Ph.D at the Kuopio University Hospital, it was concluded that an on-demand reminder system increases adherence of birth control pill users. More details regarding this study can be found here. )

How To Make Sure Allergy Medication Works As Intended

If you suffer from allergies – seasonal or year-round – then you understand how much of an impact allergy symptoms have on everyday life. With several allergy medications available, however, there is no need to suffer through allergy season with the misery of congestion, a runny nose, itchy eyes and burning throat. Read on to learn more about how to take allergy medicine to get the results you want.

4 Anti-Allergy Best-Practices: How to Take Allergy Medicine

 

1. Know Your Allergy Season

All types of allergy medications work best when used to prevent symptoms. If you have seasonal allergies and know when your allergy season begins, you should start taking allergy medicine a week or two before your particular allergens start to rise in the environment.

If you are allergic to pollen or mold, you will experience the best results if you start taking allergy medication before the pollen count rises or the rain begins.

2. Work with Your Body’s Natural Rhythm

The body operates on a natural cycle called the circadian rhythm. As a result, different processes take place in the body at different times of the day, and different medications will work better or worse when administered at different times of the day.

Most pill-form allergy medications reach their peak effectiveness about 12 hours after taken, with the most severe allergy symptoms commonly occurring in the morning. As a result, these allergy medicines are most effective when taken in the evening. All types of allergy medicines (including pills, drops and sprays) work the best to prevent symptoms, so they should be administered before symptom onset.

3. Start with Regular Strength

Since many allergy medications are available without a prescription and without first talking to a doctor, it is easy to end up taking more than you need. You should always take the least amount of a medication that you still find to be effective. Try a regular strength formula first.

If you still experience symptoms, then consider switching over to an extra strength allergy medicine.

4. Read Medication Ingredients

Since taken as a preventative measure, most antihistamine allergy medications are designed to be taken regularly throughout an individual’s allergy season. In case you need support with being consistent with pill-taking every day, there are several options from the humble smartphone alarm clock to the sophisticated smart pill tracker.

It is worth noting that if your preferred allergy medicine, however, contains a decongestant, you should refrain from using it more than three or four days in a row. When decongestants are used regularly, individuals sometimes experience rebound symptoms when they stop using the medication.

An allergy medication with decongestant and antihistamine can actually make symptoms worse, if used too many days in a row.

During allergy season, do you take anti-allergy medication daily?

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Ask an Allergist

With many over the counter allergy medications available, many individuals with allergies do not get the best treatment or the help they really need. If you find that your eyes itch, your nose runs and your throat burns even with over the counter medications, you should consider speaking with your doctor or scheduling an appointment with an allergy specialist. A professional can help you definitively determine to which allergens you are sensitive and prescribe the best treatment plan possible.

It is also a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting any new medication (even those available without a prescription) to ensure you avoid any potential reactions or interactions with your current medications. Your doctor can also tell you more about how to take allergy medicine.