The Hidden Hazards of Pill Organizers

Color-coded pill organizer for medication management

Pill organizers are helpful to many seniors, but some negative effects have been noted.

On average, older adults take as many as 15-18 different prescriptions every day. It’s likely that most seniors wind up missing or taking incorrect doses of their meds, which can cause dangerous health concerns. So, how do we ensure that we reduce the likelihood of these medication errors? Pill organizers seems to be a great solution given the fact that we place the correct meds in these perfectly labeled boxes. Problem solved, right?

Surprisingly, medication management research is revealing a much different scenario. Older adults who had been taking their medications from the original packaging and later switched to pill organizers were overwhelmed with health problems including falls, hypoglycemia, and in one case, someone was unable to get out of the bathtub until rescued a full 12 hours later.

Are Pill Organizers Safe for Older Adults?

A study was conducted involving 29 participants over age 75 who had not used pill organizers and were, inadvertently, not taking their medications as directed by their physicians. For eight weeks, half of the seniors in the study started using a pill organizer, while the other half continued taking their meds as they always had.

Initially, it was believed that the seniors had been missing doses and/or taking their meds incorrectly before utilizing a pill organizer; however, the results conclude that the health concerns, were discovered only in seniors who had recently begun to use pill organizers.

As a result, Dr. Debi Bhattacharya, lead researcher in the study, recommends confirming dosage amounts with a physician and/or pharmacist for seniors that plan to switch to a pill organizers. 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.”

Harmony Home Health & Hospice, a top provider of Clearfield home health care services and care throughout the surrounding areas, offers dependable medication management services for seniors as part of our home health care services, with reminders to take medications exactly when and how they’re prescribed, to ensure they remain as healthy and safe as possible. Contact us at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE (1-877-463-3322) to learn more and to find out if our services are available in your area.