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Electronic Pillbox Helps Seniors Stick to Drug Regimens
Date:5/7/2008

ines all lid openings, which the researchers equated with the taking of an actual medication. The researchers noted that the pillbox comes with such a phone-monitoring system, for patients and their caregivers to use as desired.

The researchers found that electronic pillboxes boosted drug adherence. With the boxes, patients prescribed more than a single dose per day of any particular drug took one pill more per day on average, the authors found. As well, the number of days when patients accidentally skipped their drug regimen altogether dropped to just 6 percent when using an electronic pillbox -- from 12 percent without the box.

In addition, the proportion of doses taken within 15 percent of the time they should be taken went up with the electronic pillbox.

Dr. David Flockhart, director of the division of clinical pharmacology at Indiana University's School of Medicine in Indianapolis, said the notion of an electronic pillbox draws critical attention to a major public health concern.

"Compliance with medications is a huge problem in general, and in particular among the elderly," he observed. "And it is even more problematic among those who take a lot of medication, which is a lot of people, given that the majority of seniors who take medications take more than five prescriptions a day. So the value of something like this is potentially very large."

"However," he added, "the question always come up as to whether these kinds of benefits seen in a clinical trial would really translate to the real world. Because the patients in a study like this know that they're being monitored, so they might be remembering to do something when the box beeps that they might not actually remember in real life. So I would encourage the investigators to follow up this finding with a strictly observational study, rather than a clinical trial, to see how this will work in a natural setting."

To take control of their prescription m
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