Special Medication Packaging
Ensuring Patient's Prescription Compliance
Dale Colee, RPh. & Trenee’ Workman, STLCOP PharmD. Candidate
According to AARP, the elderly take approximately 25 prescriptions per year. With this many prescriptions to worry about, it is not surprising that 58% of this population make errors when it comes to taking their medications. For many, it is understandably difficult to ensure that you are taking the correct dose of a drug on the correct day at the correct time of day. Patients who do not take their medication as prescribed are said to be noncompliant. Medication noncompliance is strongly associated with poor health outcomes. For example, a patient who does not take his or her prescriptions for high blood pressure would have a difficult time maintaining a goal blood pressure. Because of this, other problems, such as kidney damage, heart attacks, and stroke, could arise.
Need Assistance with Your Medications?
of the most effective ways to increase medication compliance and improve health
outcomes in the elderly population is the use of specialty prescription
packaging. At Colee's Corner Drugs, the staff
offers and prepares several types of special packaging for patients who wish to
remain independent and living at home, but still need some assistance with
“Bubble” packing, also known as blister packaging, can provide up to a month supply of a prescription. Each bubble can hold one or multiple tablets or capsules and represents a day’s worth of medication. Multiple packages can be used to coordinate different times that medications might be taken during the day (i.e.- morning, noon, dinner & bedtime.) This arrangement would be useful for a patient that has difficulty remembering whether they took their prescriptions that day or not.
Weekly & Biweekly Caddies
Another type of specialty packaging offered at Colee's Corner Drugs is weekly and biweekly caddies. Each week (or every two weeks, depending on the patient), a pharmacist or pharmacy technician will fill a weekly medication planner with the patient’s prescriptions specific to the time and day for dosing. These caddies are exchanged with the weekly or biweekly planners that the patient has just emptied. The importance of the weekly planners is that there are specific dosing time slots, making it simple for the patient to know what time of day the patient needs to take their medicine to be compliant.
Specialty Medication Packaging Helps Provide Better Health Outcomes
Both of these forms of specialty packaging are a simple way for patients or their caregivers (family members) to keep track of their prescriptions. Specialty packaging increases compliance in the elderly population as well as allow pharmacists to detect when a patient is being noncompliant. Being on more than ten medications is not uncommon in the elderly population, which is why extra measures need to be taken to ensure these patients are taking their medication correctly. Taking away multiple pill bottles and replacing them with one simplified form of medication packaging decreases the likelihood of dosing errors. Specialty prescription packaging is something elderly patients should take advantage of if they are having difficulty taking their medications how they were prescribed. The ultimate goal for this population is to provide better health outcomes, and a higher quality of life for patients; specialty prescription packaging can help achieve that goal.
Call Erica for more information about specialty medical packaging.