Packaging to improve adherence

Researchers: Mahtani KR, Heneghan CJ, Glasziou PP, Perera R.

People often miss taking prescribed medication, because of forgetfulness, changing medication schedules or busy lifestyles. It is estimated that between 40% and 60% of people do not take medication as prescribed, which can lead to worse health outcomes. Packaging of medications with reminder systems for the day and/or time of the week is an attempt to help people take long-term medications. We assessed twelve studies involving 2196 participants who were taking self-administered medications for at least one month. The studies involved different types of packaging, and different medications for various health problems. We found that reminder packaging increased the proportion of people taking their medications when measured by pill count; however, this effect was not large. We also found some evidence that reminder packaging may be beneficial in improving clinical outcomes such as blood pressure. Reminder packing for certain individuals may represent a simple method for improving the adherence to medications.

Our review was referenced in the NICE clinical guidance CG76 Medicines adherence. The NICE guidance refers to our review as “A high quality systematic review suggests that some types of multi-compartment medicine systems may improve adherence to prescribed medicine.”


Associated media
Center for Advancing Health – Reminder Packaging Helps Patients Take Medications as Directed
The Lifestyle Elf – Does medication reminder packaging help us to keep taking the tablets?
The Pharmacy Times –  Reminder Packaging Can Help Medical Adherence



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