Your Meds on Autopilot?

Don’t give me that “senior moment” crap: even my kids often forget why they walked into a room in the first place, or why they’re standing in front of an open refrigerator door. They also get little floride tablets every morning, and I’ll be damned if they can remember whether they actually took their pill or not most mornings. So for us busy grown-ups taking multiple meds per day — the kind you neither want to miss nor over-use — keeping track can truly be a nightmare. So guess what (again)? Some folks figured out there’s a hot a market niche for a tracking system that goes beyond those big plastic pill organizers mark with the “Mon-Fri” symbols.

* The InforMedix Med-eMonitor device is a “smart pillbox” that’s actually connected to the Internet viaInformedix_machine your phone line. So it not only stores pills, but also beeps an alert when dosing time arrives, and immediately alerts your healthcare pros via a secure, customer-specific Internet site in case you miss a dose or take out the wrong pill. The portable device also monitors overall patient health by, for example, requiring diabetics to enter their blood sugar levels regularly. The data is sent straight to your doc. Neat. I wonder, though, how many doctors are actually on board with using a time-intensive system like this (?)

* Chronodose is getting ready to give it to you in the arm. No kidding! The company is currently conducting clinical trials on a wristband device that delivers drugs transdermally (through your skin). It is a genuine automated, fully programmable, non-invasive drug delivery device. It’s worn like a wristwatch and “programmed like an alarm clock, to accurately and automatically deliver predefined-sized doses to coincide with peak disease symptoms. This is especially important when symptoms peak at night while asleep, or immediately upon waking.”

In other words, it can administer higher doses automatically when disease symptoms statistically peak, and less when symptoms are lighter. Talk about your next generation of “smart” drug delivery systems. I wonder just how useful this will be for diabetics in the real world…

* The PharmMD service, meanwhile, helps guard against medication overuse and misuse. It’s an “extensive software and operating platform” designed for employers and health plan providers that examines medical claims to ensure that patients are taking the most appropriate meds and that those meds mix well together. Sounds kind of like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many people get prescriptions from varying doctors that conflict or create nasty drug interactions.

Indeed, according to Forbes, “Adverse medication events result in an estimated 700,000 emergency room visits annually; the Institute of Medicine reports that 1.5 million U.S. patients are harmed every year by medication errors.”

Should be helpful, considering that more people are taking more medications, and stronger medications, than ever before. And this includes kids, too.

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9 Responses

  1. lauraw
    lauraw July 20, 2007 at 7:57 am | | Reply

    I’d just like a pill bottle with a timer on the lid that resets when you open it. Then I could always see the last time I opened it. It would be perfect for those ‘did I just take my pill, or was I just thinking I should take my pill’ moments.

  2. Amalas
    Amalas July 20, 2007 at 8:35 am | | Reply

    Yes, but maybe you just opened the pill bottle and didn’t actually take the pill. Then it wouldn’t do much good. =)

  3. mollyjade
    mollyjade July 20, 2007 at 9:39 am | | Reply

    What I’ve always wanted is something to keep track of all my prescriptions. They all seem to run out at different times.

  4. Jens Olafson
    Jens Olafson July 20, 2007 at 10:19 am | | Reply

    My worries are of a different sort: how much more information will we be giving to insurance/pharmaceutical corporations? I’m already being jerked around by both: do I really want to give them more access to my life? NO.
    Unrelated question: has anyone seen actual clinical research on the life of a vial of insulin? I’m told 28 days after first use: is that the pharma company talking or actual, verified and verifiable, science? I hate to throw out an unfinished vial: is this necessary?

  5. Adam
    Adam July 20, 2007 at 10:46 am | | Reply

    I just write my blood sugars down in a spiralbound notebook. Then I type them into a computer spreadsheet. The spreadsheet tells me things that aren’t obvious, for example:

    (1) My highest postprandial blood sugar occurs after lunch.

    (2) My fasting blood sugars have been below 50 in the past two days.

    (3) My blood sugar is always higher after exercising than before.

  6. David Parker
    David Parker July 20, 2007 at 1:16 pm | | Reply

    Jens:
    re how long to store opened insulin vials…
    Consider that insulin is a protein (albeit with a big dose of preservative). Would you use (eat) a piece of meat that was laying about after 28 days? Even in the frige? I have experienced a vial going bad in 26 days. I’d consider the 28 day expiration as valid. YMMV.

  7. Vicki
    Vicki July 20, 2007 at 3:00 pm | | Reply

    That Chronodose gadget might work for diabetics who take a set dose and don’t aim for tight control but it’s not worth boo to those of us who dose insulin matched to carbs, different for every meal, depending on what we eat.

  8. AmyT
    AmyT July 21, 2007 at 2:21 pm | | Reply

    Vicki, remember that not everyone is on insulin. Lots of PWDs are on multiple oral meds per day, as well.

  9. Jolene
    Jolene July 23, 2007 at 3:33 am | | Reply

    The top device smacks of big brother monitoring you … no thanks!

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