Virtually half of all adults in England took at the very least one prescribed drugs up to now week — and for a lot of, taking it’s not easy. However there’s an array of devices that declare to assist make taking treatment simpler.
Adrian Monti requested Ben Merriman, a medical pharmacist in Cumbria, and Mohammed Hussain, a group pharmacist in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, to evaluate a range. We then rated them.
Blister pack gun
Pivotell Capsule Popper Pill Blister Gun, £23.99, pivotell.co.uk
Declare: This handheld gun pushes ‘tablets simply and rapidly from a blister pack’, the maker says. You place a blister pack beneath the versatile pad on the top of the system and pull a set off, which presses the pad onto the capsule, pushing it out.
Skilled verdict: Ben Merriman says: ‘Blister packs will be very fiddly for individuals with dexterity points akin to these with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or a neurological situation akin to a number of sclerosis or Parkinson’s. So this gadget would possibly profit these sufferers particularly.
‘However in case you wrestle with this, your pharmacist can take tablets out of blister packs for you and put them into containers that are simpler to entry.
‘Whereas this appears to be like a reasonably easy system to make use of, it may not be useful for all medicines akin to people who are available in metal-backed blister packs, which should be peeled again reasonably than the tablets ‘popped’ out.’
Pivotell Capsule Popper Pill Blister Gun
Speaking capsule field
Massive Weekly Capsule Organiser with Alarm, from E-pill Remedy Reminders, £74.86, amazon.co.uk
Declare: This plastic tray has 4 rows of seven containers, for every day of the week and completely different occasions of every day — e.g. morning, midday — on every lid. Its digital timer can then be programmed with a voice alert, akin to: ‘Please take your morning tablets for the twentieth.’
Skilled verdict: Mohammed Hussain says: ‘We name these kind of merchandise compliance aids; they’re designed to include particular person doses of medicines to be taken at sure occasions. There’s an actual situation with many sufferers not taking medicines how they need to or when they need to.
‘So in some methods this sort of system is sweet, however I feel this one is far too costly for what is basically a capsule tray and a timer.
‘I might additionally see errors being made in managing so many tablets which are unlabelled and never of their authentic packaging. When you have a smartphone, you may simply set alarms on that.
‘Or, a pharmacy could make up a field with all of the medicines in separate compartments at no additional price [known as a dosette box]. In these containers, every slot is sealed beneath plastic (so it’s simple to see if the pill has been taken) and thoroughly labelled, with dimension and color, for instance, so a non-health skilled can simply determine which is which.’
Two-Piece Capsule Splitter, £6.99, amazon.co.uk
Declare: This set accommodates two pairs of stainless-steel bladed scissors. The blades permit a sq., oval, spherical or rectangular-shaped capsule, with a diameter between 5mm and 10mm, to be evenly minimize in half, thirds or quarters.
Skilled verdict: Ben Merriman says: ‘As some drugs usually are not out there in smaller doses, for instance when a 5mg pill could be the lowest energy out there however a 2.5mg dose is required, making them smaller your self could also be vital. (Particularly in the event that they should be saved within the packaging so long as doable to cease them changing into much less efficient on account of mild, air and moisture.)
‘Chopping up tablets will not be perfect, however specialist scissors like these is perhaps the least dangerous choice as they’ll present a fairly correct minimize.
‘Remember that tablets with an enteric coating [to protect them from stomach acids degrading them] or medicines designed to launch doses steadily shouldn’t be break up: solely minimize up tablets which have a marking on them, a line throughout the center for example, which signifies they are often gotten smaller.
‘A product like that is a lot safer and extra correct than utilizing, say, kitchen scissors. Nevertheless, focus on together with your pharmacist in case you’re sad about slicing up tablets.’
Capsule Mill Capsule Crusher, £15.99, amazon.co.uk
Declare: This stainless-steel system is in regards to the dimension of a pepper grinder. You possibly can place as much as 50 tablets into the cylinder, shut the lid and switch the lengthy crank deal with to grind down the tablets right into a tremendous powder. Its maker says ‘there isn’t a effort or power vital to make use of our pill crusher leading to a quick and clean grind, excellent for individuals with arthritis’.
Skilled verdict: Mohammed Hussain says: ‘Grinding down tablets is harmful. For example, many tablets have a shiny, enteric coating, so the medication is simply launched when it reaches the small gut. This coating can be destroyed by grinding.
‘Additionally many tablets, akin to these containing morphine, are designed to slowly launch the medication so the affected person doesn’t get one large ‘hit’. By grinding them down, this important function can be destroyed.
‘The actual fact it could accommodate so many tablets additionally makes it very harmful as you’ll be able to’t management the dose. I might urge individuals by no means to grind their tablets — in case you wrestle to take your tablets, ask your pharmacist about having them in liquid kind.’
Capsule Mill Capsule Crusher
Ezy Dose Medi-Spout, £34, ninelife.uk
Declare: Designed for ‘anybody with swallowing issue, dysphagia, or who dislikes that capsule style’, this reusable plastic spout screws on to most typical water bottles. A capsule will be positioned contained in the spout, and when the consumer takes a swig, in addition they swallow the capsule.
Skilled verdict: Mohammed Hussain says: ‘Swallowing tablets or capsules for some individuals generally is a actual downside, however I don’t assume this costly spout can be a resolution.
‘As quickly as many tablets come into contact with water, they begin dissolving, making antibiotics, akin to metronidazole, style metallic, making you gag. This spout will solely get the pill into your mouth and never down your throat, so will not be fixing the difficulty.
‘A little bit of teaching and attempting to know why individuals have hassle swallowing from the pharmacist may help.
‘Ideas akin to tipping your head again and never elevating your tongue after taking a swig of water, so not specializing in the pill however as an alternative getting the water down your throat, usually work. Fruit juice can masks the style — however keep away from sizzling drinks as they are going to begin dissolving the pill.’
Ezy Dose Medi-Spout
Jokari Capsule Bottle Opener with Magnifier, £3.54, mobilitysmart.co.uk
Declare: This palm-size plastic gadget suits on to drugs bottle lids and is ribbed on the within and the surface for a greater grip. It has a built-in magnifying glass to assist with studying labels.
Skilled verdict: Mohammed Hussain says: ‘Sufferers struggling to take away child-proof lids is a matter we cope with so much.
‘It’s a authorized requirement that each one medicines are equipped in child-proof containers, however pharmacists can exchange them with extra easy to open ones if the affected person asks.
‘This can be a useful system — it’s low cost and does two essential jobs: serving to take off any dimension lid, whereas you should use the magnifying glass to make sure you’re taking the proper drugs (all the time fastidiously look at your tablets so that you’re conversant in how they give the impression of being).
‘Though pharmacists can usually print off bigger labels in case you wrestle to learn commonplace ones, it is a actually helpful gadget.’
Grabber for needlephobia
Tickleflex Insulin Injection Assist, £14.95, tickleflex.com
Declare: This small grabber-like accent suits on to the top of a regular insulin injection pen. Its maker says it makes ‘injecting a safer, extra comfy, extra constant and worry-free course of’. The tiny textured ‘fingers’ collect a fold of pores and skin holding it securely and tickling the pores and skin, inflicting a distraction to masks ache; it could additionally ‘considerably cut back bruising’ by stopping ‘the needle stepping into too deep’.
Skilled verdict: Mohammed Hussain says: ‘In principle, the distraction strategy of tickling the pores and skin is a good suggestion, however in actuality the injection will not be painful.
‘Trendy insulin pens are properly designed so I don’t see an actual want for this: the needles are tiny — as small as 4mm lengthy, you barely see them. Additionally whereas fashionable injection pens use single-use disposable needles, with this you utilize it repeatedly, so that you’d need to hold it clear between each injection, which can be a number of occasions a day.
‘The maker says this might cease bruising, but when the consumer regularly rotates the injection websites on their physique then bruising is unlikely to be a significant situation.’
Tickleflex Insulin Injection Assist
Gloup, 150ml tube, £8.99, gloup.store
Declare: The maker says this affords a ‘easy, secure and efficient’ resolution to creating swallowing tablets simpler.
It’s a thick viscous gel that masks the style of tablets after a teaspoon is squeezed over the capsule earlier than swallowing them collectively.
The maker suggests it additionally boosts saliva manufacturing to assist with swallowing and states it shouldn’t work together with any medicines.
Skilled verdict: Ben Merriman says: ‘Issues with swallowing have gotten more and more widespread in adults, particularly these with a situation affecting the nervous system akin to a stroke, Parkinson’s or dementia.
‘There may be proof a product like this may help some individuals swallow treatment extra simply. Some medicine ought to be taken on an empty abdomen to make sure they’re absorbed appropriately. The maker says the gel breaks down so absorption of medicines is unaffected.
‘Some medicines may cause a dry mouth as a side-effect, so this, which makes the mouth water, may very well be helpful for these sufferers. However it ought to solely be used with strong oral dosages, not with dispersible, soluble or effervescent tablets, liquids or powders.
‘If somebody struggles to swallow tablets, I might attempt to discover out what’s inflicting the issue. Converse to your pharmacist about taking drugs in a distinct formulation akin to a liquid.’