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

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.

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.

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.

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.
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.

A 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.

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.

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

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.

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.

4. Adherence in research

Patients not adhering to medications in research is one of the factors that makes medication development so expensive, and as a result, the prices so high. Taking medications correctly is essential and adherence in research enables a successful study.

So, do you need one?

Forgot your pills again? Can pill reminders help? Learn about the different types of pill reminders and which is the most effective one.

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.

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Asthma Symptoms: What Happens When You Ignore them?

Choosing to ignore asthma symptoms, rather than seeking treatment and sticking with it, leads to a long list of negative side effects

Medications, such as inhalers and nebulizers prevent individuals with asthma from experiencing asthma attacks. An asthma attack is the sudden onset of asthma symptoms which occurs due to a bronchospasm (the constriction of the muscles surrounding the airways). During a bronchospasm, the airways become inflamed and fill with mucous which is much thicker than normal. This makes breathing difficult. The combination of these events causes the symptoms associated with an asthma attack, such as shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing and pain or discomfort in the chest. Individuals with asthma should not ignore asthma medication or asthma symptoms, because the consequences of doing so can be severe.

What Can Happen When You Ignore Asthma Symptoms: The Risks of Living with Untreated Asthma

Choosing to ignore asthma symptoms, rather than seeking treatment and sticking with it, leads to a long list of negative side effects, including:

  • Life Interruptions – Uncontrolled asthma symptoms can interrupt your daily life. They get in the way of your ability to enjoy normal activities, exercise regularly, participate in work. They increase the risk of asthma attack triggers.
  • Hospitalization – Severe asthma attacks are both frightening and serious. Ignoring asthma symptoms puts you at risk of experiencing a sudden and severe asthma attack, which will likely land you in the hospital with a sizable emergency room bill.
  • Anxiety – Anyone who has experienced an asthma attack, but still does not control asthma symptoms with medications (both daily preventatives and quick relief inhalers used as needed) will live with the fear of encountering uncontrollable asthma triggers and experiencing another attack.
  • Scarred Lung Tissue and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – Living with uncontrolled asthma damages the tissue lining the airways, leading to the build up of scar tissue and COPD. Scar tissue and COPD are chronic conditions, which cannot be reversed or healed with treatment.
  • Death – With fatal asthma, complete respiratory failure occurs. The airways become completely blocked, and medications to open airways are no longer effective. Anyone with uncontrolled asthma is at risk of symptom elevation and a fatal asthma attack.

Stick with Your Asthma Treatment Schedule – Even if You Feel Fine

Just because you feel fine and it has been a long time since you experienced any symptoms related to asthma, does not mean it is okay to ignore asthma medication. Having no symptoms indicates that your asthma medications are working to effectively control your asthma. The absence of symptoms does not mean you no longer have asthma. It is okay to use your quick-relief medications (albuterol inhaler) as needed, but you should take preventative medications exactly as prescribed and scheduled.

Inhaler or nebulizer should be taken daily to prevent the inflammation and flare ups that lead to asthma attacks. Missing doses can reduce the efficacy of these medications, leading to uncontrolled asthma symptoms. If you stick with your medication schedule, but still experience unpredictable asthma symptoms, you should speak with your doctor about adjusting your medications.

Asthma Attack: What Are Asthma Types and Treatment?

what is an asthma attack

Too often movies and television make light of children with asthma, portraying them as the often nerdy characters puffing on inhalers. Asthma, however, is a serious health condition, which can be life-threatening. If anything, children and adults with asthma should be depicted as brave heroes who face peril each day because when an asthma attack strikes, it can feel like being squeezed by a giant boa constrictor, trapped beneath a pile of bricks or locked in a wooden box underwater. So, what is an asthma attack? What happens during an attack that makes the experience so uncomfortable and dangerous?

What Is an Asthma Attack?

An asthma attack is characterised by a sudden onset of asthma symptoms caused by a bronchospasm (the sudden constriction of muscles surrounding the airways). In addition to the bronchospasm, the inside lining of the airways becomes inflamed and blocked with mucous which is thicker than normal. The combination of these events causes the symptoms of an asthma attack, such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • rapid breathing
  • wheezing
  • incessant coughing
  • difficulty talking
  • pressure and tightness in the chest
  • tightened or contracted neck and chest muscles
  • sweaty and/or pale face
  • blue fingernails and lips
  • feelings of panic and anxiety
  • worsening symptoms, in spite of medication

Mild asthma attacks occur more commonly than severe attacks. Symptoms should be treated right away to prevent a more severe attack, which would require immediate medical attention.

6 Common Types of Asthma Attacks and Triggers

Different things will trigger asthma symptoms and attacks depending on the type(s) of asthma you have. Different types of asthma include:

  1. Allergic Asthma – Accompanied by allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma is triggered by exposure to allergens such as animal dander, animal saliva, pollen, mold, dust mites and fungi.
  2. Non-Allergic Asthma – Triggered by viral or bacterial infections and exposure to other irritants, such as perfumes, sprays and smoke.
  3. Exercise-Induced Asthma (EIA) – With EIA, symptoms of asthma occur in conjunction with exercise. The sufferer might experience constriction and have difficulty breathing ten or fifteen minutes following a brief period of physical activity or fifteen minutes into a longer period of exercise.
  4. Work-Related (Occupational) Asthma – Individuals with work-related asthma only experience asthma symptoms while in their places of work. Exposure to dust particles or chemicals used in the work environment usually trigger episodes of occupational asthma.
  5. Medication-Induced Asthma – For sensitive individuals, some over-the-counter pain medications can trigger asthma attacks. These include aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen and diclofenac.
  6. Nocturnal (Nighttime) Asthma – Some individuals suffer from nocturnal asthma. The body’s circadian rhythm affects asthma, and the reclining position at night can also worsen post-nasal drip and acid reflux, which can both trigger attacks.

How to Manage Asthma and Prevent Attacks

You can manage your asthma and prevent attacks by avoiding triggers and adhering to your medication schedule. Depending on your specific type of asthma and your doctor’s recommended treatment plan, your medications might include daily allergy medications and/or bronchodilators, steroids and anti-inflammatory medications in the form of inhalers or nebulisers. To prevent asthma attacks and manage your asthma symptoms, it is extremely important that you carefully follow your doctor’s instructions for how to use both preventative and on-set asthma medications.