The Surprising Hazards Associated with Pill Organizers and Medication Management

Medication management using pill organizers isn’t as easy as you may think for seniors.

Older adults, on average, take as many as 15-18 different prescriptions each day, so it’s no surprise that so many seniors end up missing doses or taking incorrect doses of their medications. And there are serious health complications that can occur as a result of these medication errors. One solution is the pill organizer: such a basic idea to simply put the right medications into the right little boxes each day. Problem solved, right?

Astoundingly, medication management research points to a much different scenario. Older adults used to taking meds from the original packaging who switched to using a pill organizer were overwhelmed with health problems, including falls, hypoglycemia, and in one instance, a senior was unable to get out of the bathtub until rescued a full 12 hours later.

The study involved 29 older adults over 75 years of age who were not using pill organizers and were, inadvertently, not taking their prescriptions as directed by their physicians. For eight weeks, half of the participants in the study started using a pill organizer, while the other half continued taking their medications as they always had.

The health concerns, startlingly, were realized only in those who had begun to use the pill organizers. The idea behind these results stems from the concept that the seniors were missing doses or taking their prescriptions incorrectly prior to using the pill organizer, and were experiencing negative effects from taking full doses of their medications.

Lead researcher, Dr. Debi Bhattacharya, stresses the need for individuals planning to switch to a pill organizer to first check with their doctor or pharmacist to confirm dosage amounts. And she further explains, “People who are already using a pill organizer without any ill effects should not stop using it as they do seem to help some patients take their medication as prescribed. It’s the switching stage which appears to be the danger.”

Hired Hands Homecare, the top providers of senior care in Napa, CA and the surrounding area, provides dependable medication management assistance for seniors as part of our home care services, with reminders to take meds exactly when and how they’re prescribed, to ensure they remain as healthy and safe as possible. Contact us at (866) 940-4343 to learn more and to find out if our services are available in your area.

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