Consumer Reports: Organize prescription, over-the-counter pills

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On average, more than half of Americans take four prescription medications. It's easy and dangerous to miss taking one of your medications. (WLS)

On average, more than half of Americans take four prescription medications.

It's easy and dangerous to miss taking one of your medications. Daily pill organizers can help, but you might need something bigger if you take more than four pills a day.

Consumer Reports found some pharmacies have developed new ways to organize your pills in customized packaging that can help you stay on track.

Between prescription medications and over the counter products, Susan Miles takes about 15 pills a day. Until she found the right pill organizer, she would sometimes miss a dose.

"The size of the pouches can hold at least my 15 pills and that's very important for me. I know what I'm taking and I don't miss any pills," Miles said.

While it takes Susan some time each month to fill the pouches, she said it's worth it to avoid making mistakes.

"Mistakes can easily happen. A study shows that taking five or more medications increases your risk of errors, like taking the wrong drug or taking it at the wrong time," Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs Lisa Gill said.

Some independently owned drug stores and a handful of some chain pharmacies offer a 'blister pack' service sorting your medications according to when you should take them. It's especially useful with more complicated regimens.

You can also find online pharmacies that can help with mailed medications.

"We looked into a free service by an online pharmacy called Pillpack that syncs up your prescriptions so they refill at the same time. Then they organize them into individualized packets based on the time of day that you take them. Then they ship them to you," Gill said.

Pillpack also can add in any most over the counter drugs and supplements you take and accepts most insurance. However, the Pillpack service does not fill drugs that can cause dependency like the pain reliever, Vicodin or the ADHD drug, Adderall.

It's important to note Pillpack can't send medication to Hawaii and does not ship to Canada.

If you like apps to help you get organized, Consumer Reports looked at several that are worth a try. Two of them, Medisafe and MyTherapy, also can send phone alerts to caregivers and family members if you miss a pill.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org

Related Topics:
healthconsumer reportsprescription drugsmedical

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