What is a Pill Box?
Pill organizers, also known as pill boxes or pill cases, are storage containers with one or more separate compartments designed to hold medications in pill or capsule form. They are readily available online or in drug stores across the United States. A pill case, available in various shapes like bottles and boxes, provides different compartment sizes to cater to diverse medication regimens .
The advantages that come with most pill boxes include:
- Easing the process of managing medications
- Assisting in adhering to the medication schedule prescribed by your healthcare provider
- Preventing missed doses and other medication mishaps 
Exploring Different Types of Pill Organizers
How many pills can they store?
Weekly Pill Organizers
In its simplest form, a weekly pill case is a plastic box designed to hold a week's worth of medication. These pill boxes typically feature seven individual compartments, each marked with a day of the week. Some models even have larger compartments to accommodate larger pills or additional items like vitamins and supplements. Certain designs also incorporate a sliding mechanism for easy opening, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with movement limitations .
Monthly Pill Organizers
For those managing a more extensive medication schedule, monthly pill box organizers are available. These are larger than their weekly counterparts and use different colors and symbols to identify the week, day, and time of day (morning, afternoon, and night). The added benefit of a monthly pill container is that it can store a whole month's worth of medication, making it a convenient choice for those with a more complex medication regimen .
Pill Organizers with Reminder Alarms
Some pill organizers come equipped with a reminder alarm, a handy feature that alerts you when it's time to take a dosage of your medication. The alarm will typically beep or light up the organizer's screen until you take your dose .
Locking Pill Boxes
These organizers feature a lock or PIN for accessing and dispensing medications. They are particularly useful if you're concerned about others accessing your medications .
Challenges and Safety Considerations with Pill Organizers
Despite their popularity, studies show that only 53% to 68% of older adults correctly use their medications while using pill organizers. The most common mistake is taking medicine from the wrong compartment, which can disrupt the entire week's schedule .
Despite their widespread use, there are no recommendations for or against the use of pill organizers. And according to some experts and scientific studies, they may not even be the best option for everyone .
For example, older adults or individuals with motor or cognitive impairments may struggle to open pill organizers and access needed pills. In some cases, they may attempt to flip the pill organizer onto their other hand, causing pills to fall out or get mixed up, especially when the organizer has one lid covering all compartments .
Another common issue is that the same compartment often stores multiple pills. If you need to skip or switch out one of your meds, these tasks can become challenging when faced with a cluster of identical white pills. Additionally, weekly pill organizers may not be the best choice for those who need to separate medications to be taken before and after meals .
Moreover, filling up a pill organizer can be time-consuming and requires some understanding of how to organize and handle a weekly schedule. Although pill organizers with alarms can aid medication adherence, some users report that the alarm often triggers at the wrong time, the electronic display is small and difficult to see, and the buttons are small and hard to press .
Finally, one study observed that the ink marking the days of the week on each compartment wore off after two weeks of use, increasing the potential for medication errors .