Even though pill boxes and organisers can make life easier for us, these don’t always work for everyone. One thing is for sure though – if you take a lot of medicines and get confused by different generic brands then the weekly pill box may just be the “greatest thing since sliced bread”
The daily or weekly pill reminder is sometimes called the pill organiser, pill manager, pill box, blister packed medicines, multi compartment medication device, medication pack, electronic pill box, daily pill sachet system, and the dosage administration aid (DAA).
These all share one thing in common – sorting your tablets into small lots, and grouping these together for the day and time of day that you are supposed to take your medicines.
The daily or weekly pill box may help improve the way you take medicines by:
- Giving the right medicine at the right time to control your symptoms and illness.
- Making it easier to handle many different medicines – less stress and anxiety about your daily medicine routine.
- Checking if you have taken your medicine – there should an empty slot if you have done so!
- Making sure you have enough of all your medicines
- Reducing confusion with too many packs of the same medicine – this is very important for people who get muddled up by the different names of generic medicines.
- Reducing forgetfulness or slackness
- Making it easier when travelling because there are less boxes to carry around with you!
Even so, some of your medicines may not be used in the weekly medication pack because of the way these are taken or because of special packing needs. Some of these special medicines may include the following:
- Tablets taken under the tongue, wafers (melt in mouth), and chewable tablets
- Dispersible or effervescent tablets that need to be dissolved in water first.
- Refrigerated tablets or capsules
- Tablets that breakdown with moisture (in the air) and or light – these must be kept in the normal sealed blister/foil packet before use.
- Tablets that you don’t take all the time or “PRN” medicines.
“PRN” or “when necessary” medicines are also not packed in the weekly pill box because these are not taken regularly. This is very important for some people because they like the responsibility that goes with organising their daily medicine routine – and they also feel more in control of their medicines and well-being. Some “PRN” medicines which are not packed in the weekly pill box may include; pain medicines for arthritis, medicines for nausea and vomiting, and night time medicines for sleep problems.
Although the weekly pill box may help you put your medicines together each day, it doesn’t always mean that you end up taking your medicines. How well you stick to your daily medicine routine depends on many things, and may include:
- Life style stresses, poor eyesight, handling problems (dexterity), and awareness or knowing how to take your medicines
- Family or carer support – especially with help to take daily medicines.
- Health education, cultural beliefs, and community support network.
- Cost of medicines and weekly packing of pill boxes/blister packs.
- Adverse side effects from your medicines
- Understanding why you need to take your medicines in the first place!
This is why the Home Medicine Review is so important for patients taking many different medicines – the consultant pharmacist may just help the patient decide whether the weekly pill reminder pack is right for them.
When you gain knowledge about your medicines it becomes easier to control daily medicine routine.
A Home Medicine Review may help you by
- Improving understanding about your medicines and helping you manage your medicines better by yourself.
- Checking the use of medication aids such as inhalers, spacers, blood pressure monitoring, and glucose monitoring.
- Making sure no herbal products, vitamins/mineral supplements, and or other medicines clash with your prescription medicines
- Giving some general advice about things like diet, exercise, smoking, and alcohol consumption
- Removing any unwanted medicines or out of date medicines
- Checking for adverse drug reactions and side effects from too many medicines
- Suggesting better ways to treat your symptoms or illness – your doctor may end up prescribing less, more or even some different medicines for you.
As far as using the weekly pill box is concerned – it does take away the stress of getting your medicines together each day, it does make it easier to organise your medicines, it is much more convenient, you can check if you have taken your medicines, and it might just improve how your health and well-being.
If you think the weekly pill reminder may help you, talk to the people at your local pharmacy – they can help you decide which medication reminder pack is right for you.
Whether your medicines are packed in the weekly pill reminder box or you take them directly from the original pack, only you can make sure your medicines are taken properly.
Emmanuel Pippos, Consultant Pharmacist