Lots of people take pills. Many of them take more than one. Most of them are supposed to take them every day. This is called either “adherence” or “compliance”, depending on your degree of linguistic subtlety. (“Compliance” implies “bending” to the doctor’s will; “adherence” has the connotation of sticking to the regimen.)
Pills come in bottles. This is no big deal. Pop open the top, spill out the pill, toss it back, and you’re done. For one pill, that is. More pills mean more bottles, more caps to pop, and obviously more pills to swallow.
Most pills are pretty small, which makes them easy to drop into the sink, onto the floor, and who knows where else. The more times you have to open the bottle and pour one out, the greater the risk of droppage. Speaking from personal experience, it doesn’t happen all that often when you’re careful, but it does happen.
When traveling, I used to count out all the pills I’d need and put them all together into a single small plastic travel pill box. However a couple of months ago, I found myself taking a more open-ended trip. Since I didn’t want to take all my pill bottles along, I invested in a 7-day pill box, filled it up, and headed out.
Upon my return, I decided to keep using it. Best. Decision. Ever.
Why? Several reasons. I take 5 pills a day, all together in the morning. Opening each bottle one at a time, dumping out a pill (just one, hopefully), putting the cap back on, and repeating the process with each of the other bottles didn’t seem to take much time while I was doing it. But now that all I have to do is flip open a little green plastic tab, dump them into my hand, and toss them down my gullet, I realize what a time saver it is. For those who may retort that I still have to fill the box up once a week, I’ve found that it really doesn’t take all that much longer to count out 7 pills and plop them into their little cubes, Mancala-style than it does just to flip out one for the day. Bottom line is a couple of minutes saved each day, plus a six-fold reduction in the risk of dropping pills.
Sure it helps with adherence, which is why I’ve always recommended pillboxes to all my patients, especially those who take multiple meds. But it’s also a time saver, which is another big plus for busy people like me and my patients, even those who may take only one or two medications a day. Win-win.