Will an app keep you on your medication schedule?

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Published: July, 2020

The use of electronic apps (applications) downloaded to a smartphone or laptop has been revolutionizing the way we do many tasks, including staying healthy and socially connected. And a review of studies published online Jan. 30, 2020, by BMJ Open suggests that certain apps may also help you do a good job of staying on your medication schedule. Researchers combed through nine randomized controlled trials that included about 1,000 mostly middle-aged and older adults with chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, depression, or Parkinson's disease. People who used apps to support them in taking medications were twice as likely to report that they stuck to a medication regimen compared with people who didn't use apps. The study doesn't prove that apps are going to make people take their pills; the information in the study came from self-reported adherence, not objective measures like pill count or blood levels of drugs. But since these were randomized trials, the results probably are valid. And apps can help in many ways: you can use medication apps not only to set reminders to take medications and log when you've had them, but also to look up potential drug interactions, renew prescriptions, identify pills, and even find cheaper drug prices.

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