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What is the Best Type of Pill Organizer?

If you are like many older adults, medication management has likely become a large part of your daily routine as the years have gone by. While prescription medication has its health benefits, managing a regimen can be challenging and have unwanted risks -- missed doses can leave you in pain or discomfort, while taking medication early or double-dosing can have some uncomfortable or dangerous effects. 

To reduce the risk of medication mistakes, pill organization is a priority for many seniors. There’s a wide range of pill organizer types, spanning from traditional one-compartment pill tins to streamlined automatic pill dispensers that go beyond just pill organizing and dispensing. Let’s take a look!

Early Organizers

Medication organizers have been key to keeping people safe since the early days of medication use. These first consisted of safety prescription bottles, which kept medications together and easily visible. 

There was quite a bit of room for improvement, however, as the safety caps were hard to open and the labels were too small to easily read for most. Subsequently, patients had trouble determining how many medications made up one dose, since some prescriptions were for a daily pill while others called for a dose 3 times a day.

The next innovation was the pill box case, a small snap-top organizer that allowed you to plan out your dose ahead of time, so your dose was ready whenever it would be time to take it. If you took three different pills at lunch, for example, all three could be in one compartment, easily accessible. 

These pillboxes were often meant to keep at home, but some were designed to use on-the-go. They were small so they could be discreetly kept in purses and bags; some miniature pillboxes were even released by designer brands such as Tiffany & Co.®

These pill cases, however, still required someone to fill the box at least every day, if not for every dose (i.e. morning pills, lunch pills, and nightly pills). 

The Classic Weekly Pill Box

As time went on and the pharmaceutical industry began to grow, so did the pillbox. Weekly pillboxes are still common today, and are made with five to seven compartments to eliminate the need to fill compartments daily. This allows a patient or caregiver to fill the box just once a week, saving them time and promoting peace of mind for several days at a time. Some weekly pill organizers even have AM-PM compartments for pills that need to be taken at certain times of the day. 

Even with these benefits, there are some caveats to keep in mind. Oftentimes, weekly pill planners do not allow for highly complex pill regimens --- for instance, if you have different pills that need to be taken at different time intervals each day. These boxes are also often cheaply made, causing them to wear out quickly when opening and closing the compartment lids on a frequent basis.  

Electronic Pill Boxes

From boxes with simple alarms to complex gadgets, electronic pill boxes allow you to receive and customize your own medication reminders. 

Some of these devices are just basic alarm clocks that can be carried along with your separate pill container, while others attach directly to the top of the pillbox. These clocks are often capable of tracking one or two dosage times, unfortunately not allowing for pill reminders several times a day. The pill boxes are also still cheaply made, creating the same accessibility issues as basic pill cases. Moreover,  electronic pill boxes require you  to be within earshot of their alarm to actually benefit from the  notification. 

Automatic Pill Dispensers

Despite the many different evolutions of  pill organizers, they all present a few challenges that needed addressing. 

One issue is accessibility. For individuals with conditions like arthritis or poor vision, simple tasks such as opening a pill bottle, unclipping the snaps on a pill box, or even selecting the right pill can become difficult. However, these features are important to help reduce the risk of medication getting into the hands of children or pets, so they are difficult to avoid for patients with vision or dexterity issues. 

Beyond accessibility, basic pill organizers require a caregiver to constantly fill and plan out doses. Not only does this allow ample room for human error, but this constant dependency can take away from some patients’ feeling of independence, causing tension and stress within the caregiver-patient relationship.

Finally, there's the issue of reminders and staying on-schedule. Since polypharmacy is very common with the elderly, it is important to have structure in a medication routine. Simply remembering to reach for that pill box every meal or before nighttime just isn't viable for many, and remembering to set new reminders can also present challenges. 

Enter: automatic dispensers. Automatic pill dispensers address all of the issues above by dispensing pills for both easy access and accurate dosing, as well as providing reminders to keep adherence on track.

Hero’s all-in-one medication manager, which includes an automatic pill dispenser, takes it a step beyond just dispensing and storage to track your dosing schedule, keeps your medication safe, and even notify you when refills are needed.

Hero: The Game-Changing Medication Manager

Hero is an advanced medication management system -- a tracker, organizer, dispenser, and assistant for caregivers and users to incorporate into their daily lives, gaining back freedom, providing peace of mind, and increasing patient safety. 

Safe medication storage is made a priority with the Hero dispenser, storing up to a 90-day supply of up to 10 different medications, including both prescriptions and as-needed pills. As you load medications, you can use the Hero App to set up the dosing schedule. At this time, Hero will also cross check all of your medications for drug interference, a common issue with ever-present polypharmacy practices. 

The system will also monitor how full or empty each internal storage compartment is, and is able to notify you when any medications are running low, allowing you to stay on top of refilling prescriptions.

When it’s time to take your medication, Hero will set off a pleasant chime and blinking light, in addition to any notifications you set on your app, through phone call, or through text message. When you’re ready for your pills to be dispensed, simply push the button on the Hero touchpad and your pills will be dropped into an easy to grab cup. 

If a dose is missed, Hero can be set up to notify caregivers, giving them peace of mind that they can stay informed about your medication adherence. Hero tracks every time pills are dispensed, as well as if they're missed, making medication adherence tracking as easy as pulling up a report on the app -- this is especially useful in sharing adherence data with healthcare providers. 

With so many different medication options on the market, Hero aims to tackle the obstacles where other pill organizers fall short, becoming a true streamlined solution to keep medication managed, patients safe, and life easier. 

Get Started with Hero Today

Pill management can become a job in itself, and an often stressful one at that. We are all human, and we sometimes make mistakes. Medication mistakes, however, can have serious consequences. 

Hero is designed to assist loved ones and caregivers by being an all-in-one medication management system for storage, tracking, and scheduling, and more. Join the tens of thousands of families who have dispensed over 15,000,000 pills using Hero, so you can spend less time on medication, and more quality time with your loved ones. 

 

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519065/ 

https://thehuntmagazine.com/life-style/pill-boxes/ 

https://www.drugs.com/article/taking-your-medicine.html

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/drug-overdose#1

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The contents of the above article are for informational and educational purposes only. The article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified clinician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or its treatment and do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of information published by us.