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Medicine Education

A Smart Pillbox To Improve Medication Compliance 145

Posted by kdawson
from the you-talkin-to-me dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "A major challenge in public health is that people do not take their medications, a phenomenon known as 'medication non-adherence.' In the US alone, it is estimated that this accounts for 10% of all hospital visits and costs the healthcare system $100 billion per year and $60 billion to the pharmaceutical industry. Now, an MIT research team thinks it has a solution to this problem that will save lives worldwide. They've developed the uBox, a convenient, palm-sized, intelligent pill dispenser, 'which reminds a patient when it is time to take his medication, records when a patient has taken a dose, and prevents a patient from double-dosing.' The first large-scale trial with 100 uBoxes is scheduled to begin in May in Bihar, India, in a 6-month long tuberculosis treatment program."
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A Smart Pillbox To Improve Medication Compliance

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  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:04PM (#22362858)
    And how does the pillbox know that you actually took the pill, as opposed to taking it out of the pillbox so that it will quit nagging you?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gotzero (1177159)
      I would be much more impressed with some method of administration that would be able to overcome purposefully missed doses in certain patients. I think a lot of the problems with missed dosages are people thinking that they are feeling better, and therefore do not need the medicines they are taking. That said, I think a huge proportion of prescribed drugs are unnecessary, and that practice should be looked into more...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Given that you have to take the pillbox to get refilled and reset every two weeks any how, I'm not sure, other than education, there is any good way to encourage people to finish their antibiotic prescription once they are feeling better. If it wasn't for the development of resistant viruses, I wouldn't even try to solve that problem beyond pointing out the story of someone who stopped taking their TB meds and died because of it. But with resistant strains developing because of this I would be tempted to us
        • My problems is more one of forgetfulness than thinking I know better than the doctor. I keep taking the pills (well, in theory anyway...) after I start feeling better, until the end of the 10 or 14 day (or whatever) course. I start feeling better in the first few days because the antibiotics start to knock out the virus and my body can begin functioning normally.

          The virus is still multiplying and trying to do its thing, but the antibiotics are keeping it down below the threshold that my body can tolerate.
          • Hmm medical update. A virus is a virus and typically does not have an easy "pill type" cure. Antibiotics are targeted toward bacterial infections.

            Jim
        • ... is any good way to encourage people to finish their antibiotic prescription once they are feeling better. If it wasn't for the development of resistant virusesis any good way to encourage people to finish their antibiotic prescription once they are feeling better. If it wasn't for the development of resistant viruses ...

          You are a bit confused, it would be better to skip the regime entirely, since antibiotics attack bacteria and are ineffective against viruses. What I think you meant, was that a bacterial infection is unusually comprised of differing populations. Those killed off by a partial dose leaves only the most resistant to grow unimpeded by the presence of the usually more rapid growing, but less resistant strains. Partial dosage cultivates those resistant bacteria (not viruses). Meaning these cells have a diff

      • by causality (777677)

        I would be much more impressed with some method of administration that would be able to overcome purposefully missed doses in certain patients. I think a lot of the problems with missed dosages are people thinking that they are feeling better, and therefore do not need the medicines they are taking.

        Any halfway decent doctor will also tell the patient that they need to completely follow the instructions given them along with whatever prescription they are taking. If someone disregards their doctor's medic

        • I foresee a silly objection, so I'll say that this entire question obviously wouldn't apply in the case of people who cannot be expected to follow instructions (say, an Alzheimer's patient) and other arrangements would have to be made.

          Although I broadly agree with you, there are an awful lot of people who find it difficult to comply properly with their meds, not just Alzheimer's patients. Particularly older people, who are taking maybe ten or so different meds, all from identical looking bottles with badly printed labels, with pills that can also look very much alike. So you've got the weekly pill that if taken daily will kill you next to the five times per day pill, and you have to be some kind of pharmacist to tell them apart. Com

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by balloonhead (589759)
          I am a doctor. It is a given that of all the medication courses I prescribe:
          - one-third of people will take it correctly
          - one-third of people will try and take it correctly, but will get it wrong
          - one-third of people won't even try to take it correctly (e.g. not finish a course, not pick up the prescription)

          I am sure the numbers are not so round but this was the repeated teaching at medical school and beyond.

          As you say, unnecessary prescribing is a pain in the arse too. Often it is d
        • by ultranova (717540)

          Any halfway decent doctor will also tell the patient that they need to completely follow the instructions given them along with whatever prescription they are taking. If someone disregards their doctor's medical advice and suffers as a result, I'm really not sure what they were expecting or what there is to complain about. This situation is not broken, nor does it have a victim. What's the point in even going to a doctor if you (very unwisely) think you know more about medicine than they do?

          If you stop

    • by dotancohen (1015143) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:09PM (#22362912) Homepage

      And how does the pillbox know that you actually took the pill
      It should wear a condom if it's not sure.
    • Or what if you take the pill out intending to take it, but due to arthritis (or the shakes) you drop it, and then due to dementia you forgot what you were doing to begin with... Box wouldn't know what became of the pill.
      • A Smart box (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mangu (126918)
        If you are being treated for Parkinson's disease, it will give you another pill. If you are being treated for Alzheimer's, it will beep to remind you.
    • by truesaer (135079) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:14PM (#22362954) Homepage
      Medication non-compliance is usually due to forgetfulness rather than intentionally not taking it (they can't force you anyway). So really just alerting/reminding you is probably all they want to do.
      • by gmack (197796)
        Indeed.. I'm as absent minded as they come especially if I'm thinking through a solution for a client or an interesting programing puzzle. My problem is that I just can't remember if I've taken my meds or not. I usually figure it out eventually when I start having trouble breathing but that's not an optimal method of discovery.

        I would buy one of these devices in an instant if it handled inhaled meds.
      • by Adambomb (118938)
        You're damn right they can force you, just not physically.

        Non-compliance with a condition is grounds for exclusion of coverage with most insurances. You can not take the pills all you like, but if it jibbers you up you're paying the bills.

        I'd say thats a bit of motivation, although a problem is sleazier insurances will avoid mentioning this fact when people mention "oh my doctor has me on this, but I don't take it".
      • by mi (197448)

        Medication non-compliance is usually due to forgetfulness rather than intentionally not taking it

        I'd be interested in statistics on this matter... I know one — otherwise meticulous — elderly woman, who only takes the prescribed medicines, when she has acute pain (the prescription is for regular use). I have heard of others...

        I'm sure, some people just forget (especially, if they are on anti-memory loss medication, ha-ha), but I'm not at all certain, they represent the vast majority of "nonad

      • Old folks will recall that the plot of THX-1138 revolved around Criminal Drug Evasion.

        There have been proposals for criminal control outside prisons through the use of mood altering drugs. Fun shit like Thorazine that reduces your atention span to less than the guy in Memento, so basically you can't get in to mischief because you'll get completely bored an move on before any harm happens.

        The sick part of these proposals were to use RFID labeled pills, so that a relative simple compliance monitoring device
    • by John3 (85454)
      The same way it knows if the correct person actually removed the pill from the pillbox.
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      And how does the pillbox know that you actually took the pill, as opposed to taking it out of the pillbox so that it will quit nagging you?

      And how does it know that the pill you just took out didn't fall in the sewer and that you need another one right now?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      I agree. And they are going to start with TB patients. Wonderful. Yes, TB patients "forget to take their meds". Right. TB patients stop taking their meds because a) they don't want to be orange colored anymore (Rifampicin) and have can barely eat because of their medication-induced gastritis.

      Lots of people stop taking their meds because they don't like the side effects (but can't be bothered to mention it to their doctor because after all they don't feel so bad from their original condition when they are of
    • And how does it know I'm double-dosing, as opposed to needing another one because I dropped the first behind the cabinet (again)?
  • Unless a court has ordered it, you can't be forced to take your medicine. Pretty much all they can do is bad vibe you. This is a terrifying little idea because I could easily see the insurance companies lobbying for laws requiring that you take medication.......
    • Take pill. Throw in trash. Box fooled.
    • by mangu (126918)

      This is a terrifying little idea because I could easily see the insurance companies lobbying for laws requiring that you take medication.......

      A law requiring you to do what's best for you, after you have paid insurance exactly for that purpose. Why is it that this law doesn't seem such a bad thing?
      • A law requiring you to do what's best for you, after you have paid insurance exactly for that purpose. Why is it that this law doesn't seem such a bad thing?

        Why is it that you can't see what's wrong with that scenario?
      • by esper (11644)
        Just let me write you a prescription for some personality-altering drugs which you are required by law to take. Then maybe you'll see why it's a bad thing. But if you do, we'll just increase the dosage until your mind is sufficiently numbed that you don't notice any more.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bzipitidoo (647217)

        Because we don't know what is best. MDs are hardly infallible, can't always be on the spot, and are under enormous pressure to overmedicate. Sell more pills that way, and keeps them covered in case of a lawsuit. We still have much to learn about medication. For instance, grapefruit magnifies the power of a great deal of medicine. It is quite possible for half the dosage with grapefruit to be as good as a full dose without.

        I'm wondering if the pharmaceutical industry's "losses" are because people aren

        • by mangu (126918)

          Because we don't know what is best. MDs are hardly infallible

          OK, I see your point, and the two others who answered my post. But then, why pay insurance? If you think grapefruit will make you well, good for you, but why do you have to pay an insurance company to eat grapefruit?

          If you are paying an insurance company to get medical treatment, they *will* give you the treatment you paid for. However, if you prefer some "alternative" form of treatment, then why the f**k do you need an insurance company?

          Well, yo

        • by Zugok (17194)

          For instance, grapefruit magnifies the power of a great deal of medicine. It is quite possible for half the dosage with grapefruit to be as good as a full dose without.

          While yes, as you as and as nephew post (above) explains, grapefruit and its juice potentiates the effects of some medicines, what you propose in your second sentence is dangerous. Medicine dosages are quantified, milligrams, one tablet, half a tablet for example and there is an expected result. Grapefruit and its juice, however, is not qui

      • by syousef (465911)
        A law requiring you to do what's best for you, after you have paid insurance exactly for that purpose. Why is it that this law doesn't seem such a bad thing?

        1. Some doctors are complete idiots. I've had one doctor who'd only met me for the first time suggest stomach stapling in the first 10 minutes of the visit for high blood pressure (I wasn't on blood pressure meds and he didn't suggest them until i brought up the possibility. Apparently if you're overweight he thinks a stomach stapling is better than blo
  • Why uBox? (Score:3, Funny)

    by dotancohen (1015143) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:07PM (#22362888) Homepage
    Why uBox? They should call it the iBox and everybody would buy one.
  • Good (Score:1, Redundant)

    Maybe this will stop certain people I know from taking others unused antibiotics when they get a cold. Much easier than unsuccessfully trying to explain the difference between viruses and bacteria.
    • by fbjon (692006)
      Easier: return unused antibiotics to the pharmacy. And also, unused antibiotics should be an exception. Either you take all the medicine as prescribed, or you have a problem with the medicine, and the doctor says you can stop. Patients don't get to decide when they've recovered, especially with antibiotics.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ScrewMaster (602015)
        Yeah, they stop when they feel better. If there was ever a need for a public information campaign this is it.
  • Costs ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Romwell (873455)
    "...costs the healthcare system $100 billion per year and $60 billion to the pharmaceutical industry"
    Did they want to say brings ?
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Did they want to say brings ?

      No, they mean costs. Did you really think that pharmaceutical companies could make profit off healing and saving people? Of course not, but they do it anyways, because if they weren't there, then who would make all these medicines for us? That's right, they do it all because they care about us and they want us to be alive and well, even if it's going to cost them hundreds of billion dollars every year.

      Think about it next time you consider buying Pfizer stock [google.com].

    • Re:Costs ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:19PM (#22363016)
      I wouldn't be surprised if this was RIAA-style math. What it possibly means is that the pharmaceutical industry would make an additional $60B a year if people took all the pills they're supposed to. But since people forget to take some of them, pharma considers it "lost revenue".
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Keep in mind that the pharmaceutical industry isn't just the rich guys in suits that head those massive companies which are raking in obscene amounts of money. There are plenty of smaller companies as well, cranking out the everyday drugs that people take for granted and making very little money in the process.

      The cost being talked about could largely be opportunity cost, as the people who aren't taking their doses of well-established, off-patent, one-dollar-per-dose medications will many times need a ne
  • I wonder if they used the logic that 10% of hospital visits = 10% of the healthcare industry, because wouldn't that be neglecting the nature of the visits? I would assume that the 10% of hospital visits resulting from forgetting to take pills would have a greater chance of being taken care of fairly easily... Like, "ok here are your meds and a cup of water". Sure, some problems will be more serious, but still.

    In response to:

    it is estimated that this accounts for 10% of all hospital visits and costs the healthcare system $100 billion per year and $60 billion to the pharmaceutical industry

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Usually not, and in any case it can be a long time before anybody realises what the problem actually is, by which time damage may have been done. Also over medicating, or taking pills at the wrong frequency is also a major problem that this thing is trying to address.

      Having said that, I don't think a hi-tech solution like this is a necessary answer for most people. We'd go a long way towards preventing these problems simply by printing readable labels on med boxes that are easily distinguishable for peo

    • by gmack (197796)

      I wonder if they used the logic that 10% of hospital visits = 10% of the healthcare industry, because wouldn't that be neglecting the nature of the visits? I would assume that the 10% of hospital visits resulting from forgetting to take pills would have a greater chance of being taken care of fairly easily... Like, "ok here are your meds and a cup of water". Sure, some problems will be more serious, but still.

      You can't be serious. many medications have dire consequences if missed.

      Forgot your heart med

  • by LearnToSpell (694184) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:14PM (#22362950) Homepage
    My grandmother is going into assisted living this week, and up until now, I've had to nag her twice a day to take her pills. They'll administer her meds, but it's $21/day.

    • If they're essentially charging you $21 to replace a five minute phone call twice a day, why don't you outsource this task? Seriously. Go to GetFriday.com or someplace similar and hire a nice young Indian lady to spend 1/5th of an hour a day (split into two chunks, about $3 a day and you would likely get a quantity discount) calling your grandmother at the appropriate times and saying "Hello, Mrs. LearnToSpell. I'm just calling to check up on you. Is everything going alright? That is great. Have you t
  • Soon we have machines bitching about our eating, drinking, oversleeping, computing.. And those machines are controlled by corporations and run "without costs" with advertising. Advertising that MAKES you go out and buy. Oh I cant wait!
    • by Shados (741919)
      Whats funny is how by the time they're teens, most people start bitching and whining that they don't need any kind of supervision, their parents are too much, they're smart enough to take care of themselves...yet most people really don't. They need machines to be their parents.

      Oh the irony.
  • by lobiusmoop (305328) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:16PM (#22362974) Homepage
    I can imagine this will only be made available to third-world patients. The liability lawsuits arising out of things like battery failure on the unit in the medical/legal minefield of the USA don't bear thinking about.
    • There will be plentiful disclaimers that the manufacturer can point to in those cases. Take a look at the legal disclaimers on average household appliances. I can imaging they'll be even more amusing for medical devices.

      If your logic held true, we wouldn't have electronic blood sugar meters either.
    • What do you need a smart dispenser for when you lack the meds you need to fill it with?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ScrewMaster (602015)
        Oh ... the Third World gets plenty of pills. Of course, not all of them work, and the ones that do maybe haven't been tested as thoroughly as one might like. Heck, some might qualify as downright experimental. So they get plenty of pills. The thing is, what those people really need is a box to remind them not take them.
  • by Joe Tie. (567096) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:16PM (#22362976)
    But there's times when I think some people just don't deserve the benefits of modern healthcare. It's just amazing how common a situation it is for people to have a deadly illness and simply stop taking their medication. It's pretty rare for them to even know the actual name of the drug, or anything about how it works. I almost died when I was just a kid, and even at that age I learned the hell out of the drugs I was on. And I certainly learned to check my watch, or at least just set an alarm. I wouldn't have cut myself any slack for not doing so at 11, and I wouldn't for any adult not suffering from a mental disorder.
    • by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:37PM (#22363206) Homepage Journal
      The story is about initial deployment in very poor areas of India. They probably aren't missing doses because they are having so much fun playing Wii. They just may have things going on that seem larger than a pill in the context of their lives.

      And even if we stipulate that certain people don't "deserve" treatment, does that mean that the rest of us deserve the antibiotic-resistant strains of TB that result from people missing their doses?

      -Peter
      • And even if we stipulate that certain people don't "deserve" treatment, does that mean that the rest of us deserve the antibiotic-resistant strains of TB that result from people missing their doses?

        so the only way to really measure compliance here is to do a urine check every few days while on the 'scrip - and assign people ratings based on their historical compliance and base treatment in the future on stats ... you willing to go there?
    • by quanticle (843097)

      I wouldn't for any adult not suffering from a mental disorder.

      That's one of the populations that researchers are trying to help with this device. There are a large number of elderly out there who are suffering from mild to moderate dementia and neurological problems. Current practice is to check up on them on a frequent basis and remind them verbally to take their medications. An automated reminder system would help this system considerably.

    • by wwahammy (765566)
      Oh don't worry, 47 million people in the US already know they don't deserve modern healthcare.
  • To alert the patient that it's time to take the medicine, the box flashes its lights and sounds a buzzer. When the compartment is opened, the uBox records the exact time and prevents double-dosing by refusing to open again until the next treatment is due.

    I like that it can prevent double-dosing. Not only do some forgetful folks miss a dose, they sometimes take that dose multiple times because they believe, each time, that this is there first dose.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:20PM (#22363020) Homepage Journal
    How is this different then those 25 cent plastic pill boxes that have compartments for all your drugs, all nicely labeled and sorted for each day? They easily show you what you need to take, and if you missed anything. No batteries either!

    If we cant make it an 'i-something or other' and give it an IP address its of no value? Sure, technology has its place, but sometimes just common sense is all that is needed. When a hammer is all you need, bring a hammer, don't re-invent it just for the sake of inventing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SashaMan (263632)
      You obviously have never seen a person of diminished capacity who's on a lot of meds struggle with taking their medications. I just visited my 91 y/o grandmother who takes about 10 pills a day from 5 different medications. She's still with it (doesn't need assisted living yet), but can be forgetful. There are a couple of problems with the "25 cent plastic pill boxes" you describe that she currently uses:

      1. First, SHE is the one that has to fill them, and with so many different meds it's easy for her to make
      • by nurb432 (527695)
        she sounds like she has reached the stage of liability anyway.
        • by Geste (527302)

          My Dad, age 87, who can no longer read his pill bottles, would still kick your punk ass.

          Somebody please mod this jerk down.

          • by nurb432 (527695)
            Did i comment on age alone? No. I commented on the 'shape' she was in, which could be at any age.

            *IF* your dad is still capable of "kicking my punk ass" ( which i honestly doubt, since you would be incapable as well. You know, its its nice to be loyal to family, it can also be misplaced ) then he wouldnt be considered a liability would he?
      • by MagicDude (727944)
        It is possible to get meds in individual packaging. Some pharmacies will sell medicitaions in blister packaging, so the meds for the morning, afternoon, and evening are in little bubbles that you just burst. If you look around you should find it, more likely in local pharmicies rather than the national chains.
    • For one thing, because giving someone one of those in absolutely no way means that they will actually use it. For another, it doesn't discourage the, "If one is good, three must be three times better!" mentality.

      There are probably a zillion different solutions if you personally want to make certain you take pills when you should in the proper quantity.

      But this is meant less to be an electronic counterpart to a pillbox, and more an electronic counterpart to a conscientious mother.
  • Already exists (Score:5, Informative)

    by CrystalFalcon (233559) * on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:25PM (#22363084) Homepage
    How is this better than the already-in-trials Cypak box [cypak.com], which also reminds the patient to take the pills, registers the time/date taken per pill, transfers results over RFID to doctors, etc, has the added advantage of looking exactly like an ordinary pharma blister pack?
    • Well, the MIT one is cooler because it beeps and squeaks. It also has a reminder function (something any PDA, computer, wristwatch, kitchen timer can do).

      If this is all they're doing at MIT these days all I can say is that in my days....

  • Sometimes people don't take their pills because they either (A) don't have time, or forget to refill them at the pharmacy, and/or (B) can't afford them.
  • by Adambomb (118938) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:39PM (#22363226) Journal
    The problem with this is not an issue of people needing to be reminded of the doses they've taken, or should take. The biggest issue I see is WILLFUL non-compliance with a doctors advice. Now granted, doctors are only human as well so they can make mistakes but the number of people I hear tell me that "oh well i have a pill for this, but i do not take it" because they think they know more than the doctor (which sadly is SOMETIMES the case when one looks at it in a 'knows more about this situation' issue).

    This mentality is a lot more prevalent than I would have thought prior to working in travel medical insurances. The number of people who would get angry because we had to count them as treating a condition because they had a specific prescription on their history but they refused to take it was staggering. Somehow, it then becomes our fault that they have an exclusion because they were not complying with the prescribed treatment.

    To get Dickens on it: Given that non-compliance is generating these costs, i'm guessing its also generating casualties, which means the tendancy will eventually be minimized across the gene pool.

    Wish that helped my generations health costs though.

    Protips: If you disagree with your doctor, that is what second, third, ..., n(st|th|rd) opinions are for. Self diagnosis is about as reliable as the Mitch Hedburg round-about aids test if you have no background in biochem.
    • by Adambomb (118938)
      Son of a...comment writing by parts between cases all afternoon makes for my original post.

      My apologies to the grammarstapo.
  • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:40PM (#22363232)
    Based on my understanding of US law, carying a controlled substance (anything that requires a prescription) in anything other that the official bottle it came in is a federal crime. All such daily and weekly pillboxes are illegal. My father was stopped and threatened with arrest when one such item was disovered, he had to rummage through his cary on luggage to find enough pill bottles with appropriate names and descriptions such that they let him through (though they noted that just having them out of the appropriate container was illegal). How do such pill boxes deal with the legal issues? If you take one on a trip and don't bring the bottle with the appropriate documentation, should you be subject to arrest?
    • The smart pillbox would most likely be dispensed by the pharmacy, thus rendering it the official bottle. This would be a non-issue.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Randall311 (866824)
      This is only partially correct. It's only illegal if you do not have the original prescription information from the bottles in your position. So yes, if your father didn't have his scripts with him then he would have been in trouble, otherwise the security guards that questioned him were on their typical power trip.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      Based on my understanding of US law, carying a controlled substance (anything that requires a prescription) in anything other that the official bottle it came in is a federal crime.
      WHAT!? Damn!
      How come you people don't break out in derisive laughter when you hear your country described as the "land of the free"?
      • by ultranova (717540)

        How come you people don't break out in derisive laughter when you hear your country described as the "land of the free"?

        Most such expressions don't happen near Free Speech Zones, so laughing at them would be illegal.

    • If I was threatened with arrest just for carrying my pills in a daily or weekley pillbox, I would have accused the officer of having a small pecker, told him to blow his charge out his ass, ask him if he really thought his overzealous charge would actually stand up in court, and to arrest me. The resulting lawsuit against him and the department would more than pay for a lifetime of medication, and the officer may even lose his job (the issue would definitely come up in his next performance review).

      Every pol
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by canajin56 (660655)

      In Florida a man was given the minimum sentence of 25 years for having 56 viccodin, of the 80 he was prescribed, in a valid bottle. Because, in Florida at least, any more than 50 is automatic guilt in drug trafficking. Having a valid prescription is not an exception, and the defense attorney was not permitted to even mention his valid prescription to the jury. The judge ruled that since the law does not mention prescriptions, that knowledge would be distracting and irrelevant. As a convicted drug traff

    • by Zugok (17194)
      I am a pharmacist in New Zealand. It is a criminal offence to carry prescription medicines without appropriate labelling. At a bare minimum, labelling contains the folling piece of information:
      quantity of dispensed medicine
      name of the medicine
      strength of medicine
      instructions: how to take it, how many to take and how frequently
      name of the patient

      Those pill organisers you can purchase really are not adequate and they encourage patients to redispense medicines which is a bad thing because there is no quality
  • Great idea, really. But I forget to take my PDA with me VERY often, and that device is significantly handier, that that robotic pill box; at least, from what I can tell by viewing the images (http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/itw-india-enlarged.jpg). I don't know how exactly the device works, but it hast to have some sort of battery in it, what happens, when that battery drains? I forget to recharge my PDA about as often as I forget to take it with me... This box may be of great use in the well develope
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @06:34PM (#22363746) Homepage Journal
    Oh yeah, that's not doomed to failure!

    The batteries will never run out, the thing will never be badly programmed, the patient will never ignore it, nor forget it, and the workers checking up on them will always be diligent and honest. That's why it's gonna work!
  • I fear that the way health care operates, this will be used to punish patients who have forgotten to take their pills by refusing them cover for further medication.

    "I'm sorry Mr Jones but we can't supply you with more blood pressure medication. It says right here you missed a dose 3 months ago. Now what's the point of giving it to you if you won't take it? Next!"
  • 'medication non-adherence.' In the US alone, it is estimated that this accounts for 10% of all hospital visits and costs the healthcare system $100 billion per year and $60 billion to the pharmaceutical industry.

    I assume the latter is not the least concern.

    Some quack must have been watching TV and recently put my mother on Vytorin. Pick your favorite Google result on how worthless that drug is.

    • You have a very valid point. Even more valid than you could imagine.

      During my pharmacy study I received the weekly dutch magazine for pharmacists. A professor from my university had a column where he reevaluated case studies from random patients. He studied the pattern of drugs prescribed, knew the illnesses for which these are normally described, found that a lot of drugs were described against side-effects of previous drugs, and in most cases concluded that the 10+ drugs weekly should be replaced by nor

  • Already been done: http://compumed.com/ [compumed.com] Comes with strobe lights for deaf people, audio alerts for blind people, I think it can even phone an emergency contact if the medicine isn't taken--very well thought out. And it's been around for several years.
  • when did the medical community begin using military terminology like "medicinal non-compliance?"
    • by BC_Man (1236426)
      About the time they started convincing people that people die of Aids, Cancer, Heart Disease, etc, etc. Most people die of bad nutrition and from the use of these medications themselves. I wonder how many people read the warning sheet that actually comes with the medications ? Why are many people abandoning the medical system and doctors, and diagnosing themselves ? This is not dangerous ... it might just save your life.
  • I've always thought it would be cool to have a candy box that would limit consumption. How big of a "pill" can this thing handle? And is it hard to break open if one is desperate for some chocolate?
  • I'd use this. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DdJ (10790) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @07:28PM (#22364200) Homepage Journal
    I'd use this. I have ADD, and one of my problems is paying enough attention to take the meds at the right time. Years ago I actually wrote software for the Apple Newton to help me solve that problem. (Huh, I wonder how hard it'll be to port it to the iPhone? Dev kit comes out soon, right?)

    Anyhow. Yeah. I'd actually use this.
  • This box could be a great new product, but could be even bigger overseas. Think a place like, oh, Africa. Few people have clocks, and not many can tell time in the remote regions. An automatic dispensing system could potentially revolutionize health care. This, of course, depends on people actually caring about Africa, not just listening to Bono spout off about erasing debt.
  • liesdamnedliesandstatistics $160 billion because people don't take their pills? I doubt that sounds right.
  • Intelligent pillboxes are not a new phenomenon, and this will not be the final say on the matter - I should know, I started a company to try to produce one for the UK market.

    The patent landscape is littered with numerous attempts to solve the problem of patient compliance with self-administered, even back to the 1960s. They all rely on a similar solution to this one - an intelligent alarm, an internal counter, and some form of interface for either the physician or the patient.

    The problems my product was try
  • There are natural cures for Aids, Cancer, Heart Disease that save life's. This is no secret, but those natural cures won't make Big Pharma huge profits. I'm afraid this is profit above human life .. wake up folks. http://naturalnews.com/ [naturalnews.com]
  • In my experience with patient concordance to prescriptions (NB: 'concordance' is the new PC term for 'compliance'), patients don't take their medicine because of poor communication on the part of the doctor.

    With increasing patient loads, and consequentially reduced consultation times, doctors often don't take enough time to explain why the patient needs to take the medicine, how to take it, and how often. Also, by appearing to be rushed/stressed, doctors don't give patients the opportunity to ask questions
  • welcome our new, drug dispensing overlords. Although I'm not quite sure what it says about us when the pillboxes are smarter than we are.
  • by tguyton (1001081) <t_guyton@bells o u th.net> on Saturday February 09, 2008 @09:22PM (#22365258)
    ...about this not being a solution for the multitudes of people who simply choose not to take their medications, but that's not the only goal of a system like this. It could go a long way towards helping people keep up with their doses. My mom died at 45 because one of the medications she was on gave her memory issues and one day she overdosed because she simply couldn't remember that she had already taken the drugs. If this helps anyone avoid that fate, it will be successful in my opinion.
  • As a patient currently on a combination of oxycontin and percocet for pain following a disabling hip fracture, I've learned from experience that trying to time the dosages at set intervals isn't remotely as effective for pain management as an uneven, targeted dosing based on the degree of pain involved. What this means, is that instead of one dose every 4-6 hours for every single day, I take the degree of pain as a factor in deciding how much of a med I need to take and when in order to get the most optimal
  • Many modern medications have severe side effects. Many will cause more trouble than the original problem. There have been a number of recent cases where medications were either deadly to the user or ineffective.

    Pharma spends a lot of money to get MDs to prescribe their latest and most profitable, and it works. The patient is on his own when deciding to keep on taking his meds. In this instance, Google is indeed your best friend.

    I am not referring to the use of antibiotics, but to the myriad meds for

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