Researchers develop a talking pill bottle - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/4/09

Researchers develop a talking pill bottle

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By Kristin Beerman | email

Edited by Jon Bush | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Should you take your pill once a day or twice and do you need to take it with food?  Sometimes it can be hard to remember what the pharmacist told you about your latest prescription, but now the bottle may be able to remind you!  Researchers at the University of Washington, School of Pharmacy and Nursing are working with some individual pharmacies to see if a talking pill bottle will lead to better follow-through by patients. 

Pharmacists simply record voice instructions on the bottle, so the patient can listen to it any time once they leave the pharmacy.  The bottle reminds customers like Joe Flores how often to take his prescription, what the medicine will do for him and what side effects to expect.

"The patients will sometimes listen to instructions when they're at the counter, then they go home and they forget, this is a good way to remind the patient of the message," said Annie Lam, a professor at the University of Washington. 

Pharmacist Melissa Hansen said some bottles record 30-seconds to a minute, so there's a lot of information that can be put in the bottle during that amount of time.

The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and could possibly improve compliance by patients who are blind, have difficulty reading the tiny labels or those who just can't remember what they're told once they leave the pharmacy. The talking pill bottle would cost around $10 more, but researchers believe they can convince insurance companies to cover that extra cost. Their research indicates that at least 50-percent of people don't take their medication as directed or as often is due to patients not being able to read or understand the tiny instructions written on the bottle. 

The Washington researchers are already looking into making the talking pill bottles available in different languages.

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