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Medicine Education

A Smart Pillbox To Improve Medication Compliance 145

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 SashaMan ( 263632 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:35PM (#22363180)
    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 a mistake. In fact it was sort of proof to me that the health care system really isn't interested in making people healthy in that neither her doctor nor pharmacist set up a plan to ensure med compliance. I couldn't see why her pharmacist couldn't just dole out the proper dosages in separate boxes ahead of time.
    2. More importantly, the device described in the article could be capable of notifying someone if my grandmother didn't take her meds. That would be a big benefit to my family and is something a simple pill box could never do.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @06:20PM (#22363606)
    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.
  • Re:uhh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <> on Saturday February 09, 2008 @06:56PM (#22363940) Journal

    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't buying what they aren't taking.

  • by squibshaw ( 1186123 ) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @07:08PM (#22364020)
    when did the medical community begin using military terminology like "medicinal non-compliance?"

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!