Pill Organizers:  A Yellow Flag for Caution

July 25, 2016    |   By: Kathy Wire, JD, MBA, CPHRM, CPPS

McKnight’s Senior Living magazine shared some counter-intuitive but important research recently.  The article is available here. The researchers found that individuals had more adverse events from medication after they switched to a pill organizer in home or assisted living settings.  Why?  Two things happened when they took their medication less reliably. First, they were less likely to have side effects because they were not getting the full dose daily.  The researchers also believed that unreliable intake of their medication resulted in insufficient medical benefit, so their providers increased the doses.  Once they began to take the medication regularly, the ordered doses were too high.

This study has relevance for assisted living providers, home health agencies and also for the professionals prescribing the medication. In addition to monitoring the patient after the change, they can try to find out how often prescriptions have been filled in the past—an indicator of the actual rate of consumption of the medication.

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