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. )

5 Home Remedies For Migraine Headache

Migraine headaches are painful and at times can hit you at the worst of times when you don’t have the energy to rush to a chemist. Using home remedies for a migraine headache appeals to most people who are seeking a natural way to ease the pain and also those who cannot use painkiller drugs due to various reasons.

Using herbs and spices as home remedies for migraine headache.

Many of the home remedies for a migraine headache use readily available food herbs and spices to relieve the pain.

Ginger

A study that appeared in the Phytotherapy Research Journal showed that ginger roots form great home remedies for migraine headache. It reduces the pain by blocking prostaglandins. This is the same method that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs use to relieve pain.

The best method for using ginger as a home remedy for a migraine headache is to make ginger tea. Peel and slice the ginger into small pieces. Add it to boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. You can then strain the water and add a squeeze of lemon juice and honey for a better taste.

Chamomile

The soothing and anti-inflammatory properties found in chamomile make it an effective home remedy for a migraine headache.

Chamomile tea is the best way to take chamomile. A variety of chamomile known as the “German chamomile” which is the most popular provides the best relief for migraines.

Add two teaspoons for every cup of water and simmer for 5 minutes. You can add horehound and meadowsweet or lemon juice and honey to taste.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains numerous health benefits that make it a popular organic remedy. It has been known to regulate blood sugar, promote weight loss, and prevent as well as relieve migraines.

Just add two or three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it to relieve migraines. You can add a tablespoon of honey to sweeten the taste.

You can also have a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water daily to reap its health benefits and also prevent migraines.

Lavender oil

Lavender oil has a sweet scent, and it is also oil that you should consider including in your home remedies for migraine headache. Research into the effectiveness of lavender oil in relieving migraines appeared in the European Journal of Neurology.

To use it, add a teaspoon of lavender oil to three cups of boiling water and inhale the vapor for 15 minutes.

You can also mix the lavender oil with peppermint oil and apply externally. You should use the oils to massage your temples to relieve the pain. Combining inhalation with the external application produces the best results.

It is, however, advisable that you don’t ingest the lavender oil since it can cause digestion complications.

Feverfew

Feverfew has been used for years to relieve migraines. Its popularity has grown due to the numerous scientific studies into its effectiveness. Various scientific bodies such as the American Headache Society have also endorsed the herb as a migraine prevention remedy.

Fresh feverfew leaves can be added to boiling water to make feverfew tea. You should add honey to a cup of feverfew tea to improve its taste since the feverfew leaves are bitter.

Feverfew is also available in liquid and tablet form as a herbal supplement.