Medication Adherence: What it is and Why it Matters

When patients receive a prescription from a responsible physician, they get the medicine in the strength and on the dosage schedule required for optimal treatment. However, unless patients are in the hospital and taking medication under watch, whether they adhere to pharmaceutical treatment is up to them.

Those who don’t adhere — willfully or otherwise — frequently experience negative health outcomes. The condition the medication is prescribed to treat often becomes more severe. It seems that every patient whose health relies on medication would be careful to avoid a negative outcome by practicing medication adherence. But statistics from health authorities show non-adherence is more pervasive than some think.

According to a recent report from the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM), “Nonadherence to medications is estimated to cause 125,000 deaths annually [in the U.S.]… Overall, about 20% to 50% of patients are nonadherent to medical therapy”.

The situation is stressful for patients, as well as their doctors. In all but the most critical health situations, physicians don’t “force feed” medications. In most cases, the most they can do is hope patients who waver in and out of adherence — or who are non-adherent from the start — adopt a new philosophy of self-care, one that involves medication adherence to improve health.

Reasons for Non-Adherence

Reasons for medication non-adherence range from how patients personally feel about taking pharmaceuticals to group traits that apply to the non-adherent patient population at large. According to the ACPM, some of the most common reasons for medication non-adherence are:

  • Limited English language proficiency
  • High drug costs, copayments, or both
  • Severity of prescription side effects
  • Complex medication regimen
  • Lack of knowledge about the health problem

These are just a few of the many predictors of non-compliance, but they reveal an important characteristic of all non-compliance predictors: Some factors can be addressed by solutions from parties in the healthcare process, while other factors must be addressed by patients.

For example, patients must decide if they can afford a medication, and whether they can tolerate bothersome side effects. However, complex medication regimens and a lack of knowledge can be addressed with simple blister packaging.

At Drug Package, LLC we specialize in providing these solutions and others to promote medication adherence that benefits the health of patients and the bottom line of medication providers. Our solutions are designed with you and your customers in mind to support good health outcomes.

About Our Company

Drug Package, LLC has over 136 years of experience in supplying pharmacies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and doctor offices with innovative packaging, cutting edge labeling technology, custom printed products, and more. All of our medication-related solutions can be customized to promote medication adherence, while maintaining the integrity of your brand and business.

To inquire about our products and services that support medication adherence, please call us today at (800) 625-6137, or use our contact form to send us an email. We look forward to serving you!


3 Medication Compliance Issues Blister Cards May Help Manage

Each year, poor medication compliance is responsible for countless negative health outcomes that create millions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare costs, and result in preventable deaths. According to epill.com, “75% of adults are non-adherent in one or more ways… The economic impact of non-adherence is estimated to cost $100 billion annually.” In addition, “Studies have shown than non-compliance causes 125,000 deaths annually in the US.”

Lots of money has been put toward researching ways to solve medication compliance issues, but one effective method of improvement is highly affordable for hospitals and pharmacies: Blister cards, which can be used to address the medication compliance issues below.

  1. Reading Information

Patients with compromised eyesight may be unable to read the small text with which most prescription labels are printed. For these patients, receiving medication in the form of a blister card, with ample space for label dosage instructions can help increase compliance.

  1. Taking Multiple Doses

It’s hard enough to remember to take several pills once a day. Remembering to take several pills multiple times a day can be challenging even for people who don’t have memory impairment, and almost impossible for people who do. Medication blister packs can feature multiple blisters for a single day, and list the time of day when the medication in each blister should be taken.

  1. Missing Monthly Refills

Missed refills are another major cause of medication non-compliance. Sometimes, patients willfully avoid refills due to medication side effects or lack of insurance coverage. But there’s also a significant population of patients who simply forget to request refills. Having medication organized in daily doses can help create a routine,  and since blister packs lay out all the medicine in advance it is more obvious how much time is left before a prescription needs to be refilled. When a patient recognizes they only have a week’s worth of medication left, it should prompt them to order their refill. Notes can even be made on blister cards to remind a patient to refill on a particular date.

About Our Company

For over 135 years, Dug Package has supplied pharmacies, hospitals, physician offices, and other parties in the healthcare industry with packaging solutions that support good health outcomes, and help prevent avoidable healthcare costs. We also supply dynamic packaging solutions for general business use.

To inquire about our products and services, or to place an order, please call us today at (800) 325-6137, or fill out the contact form on our website. We look forward to providing you with solutions for eliminating medication compliance issues.



3 Ways Pharmacists can Help Seniors With Medication Adherence

pharmacists-medication-adherenceMedication adherence occurs when patients take prescribed medicines in strict accordance with the directions of the prescriber. There are various reasons why people who need prescription medicine don’t comply with physicians’ directions, but patients age 65 and older comprise an exceptionally large population of patients who fail to take one or more medications as intended.

Medication Non-Adherence Among Seniors

According to a CVS Health report from late 2014, “[In] U.S. individuals 65 years old and older who use medications, researchers found that 51% take at least five different prescription drugs regularly, and one in four take between 10 and 19 pills each day. 57% of those polled admit that they forget to take their medications.” What can pharmacists do to combat these statistics and help seniors become medication adherent? Below are three strategies that can make a difference.

  1. Pharmacist Counseling

The CVS Health report referenced above states that pharmacist counseling “[has proven] highly effective in helping patients change their behavior.” Consequently, CVS “developed the infrastructure and systems to better support one-on-one personalized counseling in [CVS] retail pharmacies”. The infrastructure and systems are a comprehensive resource that allows CVS pharmacists “to interact with millions of patients and make significant improvements in adherence.”

The pharmacist counseling program CVS developed (a.k.a. Pharmacy Advisor) can serve as a model for independent and corporate pharmacies to develop a similar resource. Such a resource makes it easier for seniors to receive important information that improves medication adherence. Instead of making a doctor’s appointment and waiting days to receive crucial advice, patients can simply call their pharmacy or walk in and speak with their pharmacist.

  1. Special Medication Packaging

Conventional pill vials whose safety lids help prevent children from opening them can also prevent certain populations of seniors from opening them, as well, particularly populations that suffer from advanced arthritis in the hands, experience motor difficulties that result from a chronic condition such as Parkinson’s disease, or have a condition such as dementia that makes it difficult to remember how to perform basic tasks.

One way to circumnavigate deficiencies that make it physically difficult to access medication is to dispense medicine in blister packs, where each pill is contained in a plastic cell that has a foil backing through which pills can be accessed with minimal effort.

  1. Refill Reminders / Automatic Refills

According to a report from Pharmacy Satisfaction Digest, “Nearly one out of three pharmacy customers say they did not fill all their new prescriptions during the past year, and 27 percent indicate that they did not refill all of their prescriptions.” Of these customers, 84 percent cited forgetfulness as the main reason for not seeking refills on time.

Because many in the senior population experience forgetfulness as a symptom of a larger medical problem such as dementia, receiving refill reminders from their pharmacy or having the pharmacy automatically refill prescriptions and notify customers that prescriptions are ready is a simple measure that can have a positive effect on medication adherence.

Medication Packaging for Medication Adherence
At Drug Package, we don’t specialize in helping pharmacies create pharmacist counseling programs or perform refill reminders / automatic refills, but we do supply innovative medication packaging (e.g., various configurations of blister packaging) that can synchronize with these resources to help improve medication adherence among the senior population.

For more information about our packaging options that can help seniors remain medication compliant, please browse through our product catalogues, or call us today at (800) 325-6137. We look forward to supporting your pharmacy in support of medication compliance among its customers.


What is Medication Compliance? Four Scenarios

what-is-medication-complianceMedication compliance is a term used to describe whether or not patients take medication based on the prescriber’s directions. Adherence is linked with good health outcomes, whereas non-compliance often leads to poor health outcomes. Because not all dosing regimens are the same, medication compliance must be evaluated based on how a medication is prescribed in terms of frequency and duration of dosage. Below are four examples of what we mean.

  1. Maintenance Medication

Maintenance medications are typically prescribed for the “maintenance” of a chronic health condition for which there isn’t a clear cut cure. Because management of the condition must be maintained, maintenance medications are often taken daily. Examples of maladies that require daily dosing to achieve adherence include: heart problems, clinical depression, and nerve pain. When maintenance medication is taken haphazardly, the malady typically increases in severity.

  1. Short-Term Medication

Short-term medication is commonly prescribed for three weeks or less. During the dosage period, the patient is often directed to take the medication daily — and, sometimes, more than once a day. Short-term medications are typically used for health conditions that are distressing but often resolve on their own. Common examples of conditions for which short-term medication is prescribed include: bouts of clinical anxiety, disabling muscle cramps, and the common flu.

  1. As-Needed Medication

Medication compliance for medications that are taken on a PRN basis is frequently difficult to judge. Patients often don’t take these medications daily — and, sometimes, weeks go by between doses. Therefore, the health of the patient is one of the primary determinants of adherence. Common examples of conditions for which as-needed medication is prescribed include: generalized anxiety that ebbs and flows, occasional joint pain, and heartburn.

  1. Single Dose Medication

Because most medications are prescribed to be taken more than once within a single course of treatment, single dose medications tend to be rare in the practice of general medicine. However, there are notable examples of medications that are commonly taken in a single dose, such as: bowel cleansing solutions that prepare patients for lower endoscopies, anti-anxiety medications that are prescribed for a single, stressful event, and experimental meds for professional test trials.

Need to Improve Medication Compliance?
If so, applying protocols for adherence should begin with understanding the frequency and duration of dosage for the medication in question. Drug package can supply your hospital or pharmacy with medication labels and patient chart labels that clearly identify this information. In addition, we can supply blister card packaging that makes it easier to take medication as directed and thus helps to improve medication compliance across all patient populations.

To inquire about our labeling solutions that are designed to help improve medication compliance, please call us today at (800) 325-6137, or refer to the contact page on our website. If you already know what you need, simply select it from our product pages and place your secure order online from the convenience of your computer. We look forward to providing you with prescription labels and packaging that help to increase medication compliance.


Medication Adherence: Patient Populations That Need Assistance

organize-medicationMost people who receive prescriptions don’t need special assistance taking the medicine as prescribed, but there are also individuals who need extra help to achieve medication adherence. These persons often fall into groups that are described as “patient populations” based on their special needs. Below, we take a look at four patient populations that commonly need assistance with medication adherence, and what dedicated pharmacists can do to help them achieve it.

  1. Patients With Complex Dosing Schedules

Complex dosing can be made simple with blister packs. Many types of medications are taken once daily, but there are also medicines that are used several times a day. This is often difficult to keep to such a schedule and wonder if you missed a dose. Blister packs are perfect for noticing at a glance if you missed a scheduled dose. Pharmacist can help by providing blister packs that will organize the medicine and contain dosing information.

  1. Patients That Experience Motor Impairment

Some patients that experience motor impairment have a hard time removing the safety cap on conventional prescription bottles. The problem is especially common among seniors that experience progressive arthritis in the hands. A pharmacist can help this population achieve medication adherence by dispensing medication in blister packs that have a thin, foil backing that is easy to break. Because the medication is easy to remove, it becomes easier to take.

  1. Patients That Deal With Memory Problems

In some cases, medication non-adherence is caused by memory problems. The customer literally forgets to take the medication and thus jeopardizes his health. This issue is especially common among people who experience memory deficits due to dementia or Alzheimer’s, but who can manage most of their affairs due to the early stage of the disease. Medication packaging that outline the specific time of day to be taken is an ideal solution for this population.

How We Help Pharmacists Help Customers

For over 100 years, Drug Package has helped pharmacists serve various patient populations, including ones that experience barriers to medication adherence. We can assist your pharmacy in helping these populations remain adherent to the prescriber’s directions by providing blister packs that provide easy visible reminders for dosing times, and blister packs with easy punch dosage.

Medication non-adherence does more than jeopardize the health of your customers. We’ll provide you with innovative medication packaging that can help organize your patient’s medication. For more information about our packaging, browse through the product pages in our online store, or call us at (800) 325-6137. We look forward to helping you help your customers remain adherent!


Pharmacies and Patient Adherence: How Can They Work Together?

Trying to treat patients who don’t follow doctors’ orders can be a stressful experience for physicians. However, doctor offices aren’t the only parties that play a role in patient adherence. Pharmacies can also play an essential role in helping patients remain compliant with prescribed treatments, and thus have a discernible impact on patient health outcomes. For this to happen, pharmacies must have patient adherence protocols in place, particularly the five listed below.

  1. Providing Custom Medication Packaging Options

Dispensing medicine in custom medication packaging, such as blister packs, can have a positive impact on patient adherence among certain populations. For patients who want to take medicine as prescribed but have difficulty remaining adherent, packaging that helps eliminate barriers to proper dosing can prove extremely helpful.

  1. Maintaining a Clear Line of Contact With Customers

How easy is it for your customers to speak with a live pharmacist by phone on short notice? Do they have to listen to a long introduction by a computer generated voice before they can select the option to speak directly with the pharmacy? If so, consider implementing a hotline that customers can call when they need immediate assistance concerning medication issues.

  1. Facilitating Unique Prescription Refill Needs

Most prescriptions are refilled on a monthly basis, but there are also situations in which customers can benefit from receiving refills on a weekly or biweekly basis. For example, for a patient who has abused scheduled drugs in the past but needs to take a scheduled prescription for a current health problem, receiving small, weekly refills can help encourage adherence.

  1. Communicating Prescription Benefit Programs

One of the biggest barriers to medication adherence is cost. If a patient can’t afford medication, he or she can’t be compliant with the prescriber’s recommendations. Pharmacies can help solve this problem by apprising customers of prescription benefit plans, such as AstraZeneca’s patient and prescription assistance programs, as well as state sponsored programs that offer assistance.

  1. Providing Independent Pharmacy Services

Medication services that are typically associated with independent pharmacies, such as medicine compounding and ordering brand name or prescription medications from various pharmaceutical manufacturers, can also have a discernable impact on adherence. The more that medication dispensing is tailored to customers’ unique needs, the greater the chance of adherence.

Need Custom Medication Packaging Options?
If your pharmacy is committed to improving patient adherence, using custom medication packaging options such as blister packs can be essential for achieving the goal. At Drug Package, we provide readymade and custom blister packaging solutions that are designed to help pharmacy customers remain compliant with their prescriber’s recommendations.

Our products are especially helpful for patient populations that exhibit a low level of medication compliance due to complex dosing schedules, motor impairment, memory problems, and the desire to receive more information about a prescription than your average customers. For assistance with selecting the best medication packaging options for increasing patient adherence among your customers, call us today at (800) 325-6137 for professional advice.


What Can Pharmacists do to Improve Medication Adherence?

pharmacistPhysicians are prescribers of medicine, but pharmacists are the gatekeepers of the medicine they prescribe. Consequently, pharmacists play a pivotal role in ensuring that patients receive needed prescriptions and take them as directed. One aspect of this role is packaging medication in a way that makes it easy to take as prescribed. There are several ways to do it, one of which is dispensing medicine in blister packs that separate pills into compartments.

The Benefits of Blister Packs
Blister packs are commonly used for patients who need additional assistance with taking their prescription on time and in the right amount, but anyone who takes medicine regularly can benefit from a blister pack. Blister packs allow patients to easily dispense medicine and will help anyone keep their medication organized. Everyone gets busy at some point in their lives with work, errands, family and even travel. Keeping up with medication is often even more critical during such busy times. Unlike medicine bottles, blister packs fit easily in a purse, suitcase, or pocket, making transport easier, and the great thing about a blister pack is you can tell immediately, just by the package whether or not you took your dose.

Pharmacies are always looking for ways to improve medication adherence for their patients and especially in cases where medication adherence is often lacking. For these populations and the pharmacist, blister packs can yield the following benefits.

  • Improved health outcomes for patients
  • Fewer patient questions for the pharmacist
  • At a glance, see when the last dose was taken
  • Easier medicine transport
  • Save room in the medicine cabinet

Does Your Pharmacy Participate?
The majority of your pharmacy’s customers probably don’t require medication packaging to improve medication adherence, but those that do can benefit greatly from receiving a customized approach to packaging medicine that helps them comply with prescribing guidelines. Offering blister packaging to these patients is a simple way to encourage them to comply.

If your pharmacy doesn’t participate in using blister packaging to improve medication adherence, now is the time to consider packaging in blister cards for patients who have exhibited difficulty complying. To receive information about our blister pack solutions, call us today at (800) 325-6137. To inquire about price, visit the Request A Quote page on our website.

We look forward to supplying you with our best in class blister packaging solutions!


Medication Packaging: Medication Pill Cards Vs. Pill Bottles

Most people who take prescribed medications receive them in the form of loose pills placed inside an amber colored prescription bottle. This type of packaging is cheap and easy to use for pharmacists and their customers, but there is population of medical patients who need more guidance on how and when to take medications than the average pharmacy customer. For this population, Medication Pill Cards are a better form of medication packaging than common pill bottles.

Dosage Times Indicated
When patients must take multiple medications on different schedules, remembering to take the medicines at the right times can be challenging, especially for patient populations that suffer from memory problems. Intelligently designed medication packaging can eliminate the quandary of when to take each medication, and thus help patients receive the maximum therapeutic benefit.

Dosage Amounts Indicated
Taking several pills a day to achieve the right dosage for a single medication is challenging enough. Now imagine having to take several pills of multiple medications several times a day to comply with dosage instructions. Medication Pill Cards can eliminate the need to remember such minutia by indicating in writing what dosage amount should be taken, and when it should be taken.

Audible Dosage Reminders
When they are designed in the form of booklets, blister packs can contain technology that audibly indicates when medication should be taken. The reminders can be programmed to occur when it is time to take medication, or only when the patient is past due to take medication. For people who take multiple medications a day, audible dosage reminders can be a big help.

Explanation of Medication
Some medications, such as statins and antipsychotics, must be taken over a long period of time to control the health problem in question. Although patients are aware of this fact when they start to take such medications, they often quit taking the prescriptions when the therapeutic effect of the medicine seems to have plateaued and achieved the intended health benefit once and for all.

For these patients, having a simple, easy to see explanation of why the medication must be taken printed and included next to the pill card can help increase medication compliance. A patient’s physician or pharmacist can instruct him or her to read the explanation of the medication whenever he or she feels like discontinuing it due to therapeutic benefits.

How Drug Package Helps
At Drug Package, we have over a century of experience helping physicians and pharmacists increase medication adherence through the creation of innovative medication packaging, such as our diverse line of customizable Medication Pill Card solutions. Pill Cards are a simple medication packaging option that can have a significant, positive impact on medication compliance when they are designed to offer the right features, such as the four listed above, among others.

For help choosing the best Pill Card options for your patients or customers, call us at (800) 325-6137, or request a quote today! We look forward to helping you introduce medication packaging that reduces healthcare costs and improves health outcomes.





Medication Adherence Tools That Increase Medication Compliance

Medication nonadherence, which occurs when a person fails to take a medication as directed, is responsible for billions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare costs annually. When patients fail to adhere to their prescriber’s instructions, they often experience additional health problems that result from taking medication in the wrong way, or failing to take a medication from the outset.

It is estimated that roughly $300 billion in annual healthcare costs are attributable to poor health outcomes due to medication nonadherence. In addition to upping cost of health insurance premiums, nonadherence can lead to longer wait times to see physicians and receive treatments — two problems that the following medication adherence tools, among others, seek to address.

Point-of-Care, Price Compare
InteliScript’s Pharmacy Exchange Network features its “Point-of-Care, Price Compare” program that addresses a major cause of medication nonadherence: prescription cost. One of the most efficient to use medication adherence tools, the program lets pharmacists identify the five lowest prices in the surrounding area for the medication that a customer needs. The best results are displayed on the computer interface the pharmacist uses to perform prescription searches.

Blister Packaging
Blister packaging can be designed to make medication easier to take as prescribed. It can play a significant role in improving patient health outcomes, and thus helps to mitigate the hundreds of billions of dollars that are spent annually as a result of medication nonadherence. These economically designed blister cards are manufactured to be easy to fill with simple instructions. A patients can organize medications so that the proper dosage will be taken at the proper time. There is also room to make notes of any side effects or conditions that occurred before or after the dosage making record keeping simple.

Need Medication Adherence Tools?
If so, the tools above may help you increase the medication adherence of your patients or pharmacy customers. If you need help finding blister packaging the medication adherence specialists at Drug Package can help you make the best choice.

We have over a century of experience in working with physicians and pharmacists to ensure that patients and customers remain adherent to their needed medications. For more information about medication adherence tools, call us today at (800) 325-6137, or request a quote today. We look forward to helping you serve your valued patients and customers!


The Role of Medication Adherence Packaging in Health Outcomes

When prescribed medication is taken correctly, it typically provides a therapeutic effect. When prescriptions are taken incorrectly, on the other hand, they often fail to produce a therapeutic effect to the degree that is expected, or fail to have an effect at all. Known as medication nonadherence, this problem leads to negative health outcomes in various patient populations.

What Causes Non-Adherence?
Medication non-adherence is a singular problem that has multiple causes. According to a recent study released by the New England Healthcare Institute, “Between one-third to one-half of all patients in the U.S. do not take their medications as instructed, including not taking the medication on time, in the proper doses, or at all.” The study goes on to provide a breakdown of the reasons why patients are nonadherent to the dosing instructions for their medication.

  • Forget to use or refill – 23%
  • Unwanted side effects – 20%
  • Cost of medication – 17%
  • Believe medication is not needed – 14%
  • Cannot fill prescription – 10%
  • Don’t know – 1%
  • Other – 15%

Because the reasons for medication nonadherence are so numerous and broad, the problem must be addressed with multiple solutions, from medication counseling, to pharmacy care programs, to medication adherence packaging. As healthcare providers have found, the top reason for non-adherence can be addressed through the use of medication adherence packaging.

In many cases, reminding nonadherent patients to take medication is only one part of the equation. In addition to being reminded to take a prescription, they need to be instructed on how to take it. Medication adherence packaging can solve this problem, as well. Creating a medication booklet that provides medication reminders and tells patients how to take medicine provides a clear, economical path for reducing nonadherence due to forgetting to take a prescription or refill it.

According to a recent study by Walter Reed Medical Center, “When a pharmacy care program utilized multimed adherence packaging, it led to increased medication adherence and clinically meaningful improvements in patient health.” In addition to benefitting patients, better health outcomes benefit the healthcare system as a whole by reducing medical costs that can drive up health insurance premiums and extend the wait time for patient appointments with physicians.

How Drug Package Can Help
At Drug Package, we understand the toll that medication nonadherence can take on the lives of those who experience it and the healthcare system as a whole. That is why we have pioneered the use of blister medication adherence packaging that increases medication adherence. Whether you are a physician or a lead pharmacist we can provide medication packaging solutions that play a crucial role in improving the health outcomes of your patients or customers.

For more information about our medication adherence packaging and other products, call us today at (800) 325-6137 to speak with one of our medication packaging specialists, or simply request a quote online today. We look forward to helping you help others improve their health!