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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cell Phones and Medication Compliance

Methamphetamine addiction is extremely difficult to deal with on a number of levels, which is why treating it is equally hard. Every drug affects addicts differently and every addiction has a different drug to help treat it. However, not everyone who goes down the road to recovery is in an inpatient treatment facility which makes monitoring patients and their compliance with taking certain medications a challenge. A new study finds asking patients to use a cell phone to snap a picture of medication for methamphetamine dependence treatment before they take it, and emailing it to their doctor, may be a simple and effective way of monitoring treatment compliance, Medical News Today reports.

Cell phones are devices that everyone these days is familiar with which researchers believe makes using them to aid professionals in treating patients a sound method. Researchers reported that they provided cell phones with cameras to 20 patients who had been prescribed modafinil to treat methamphetamine dependence. Patients take a picture of their medication in their hand before they swallowed it, and then email the photo to the researchers, according to the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

The cell phone method showed to be more effective than two other methods used: medication event monitoring system is a pill bottle that electronically records every time the bottle is opened and the second approach is counting the patient’s supply of pills at each clinic visit.

The cell phone technique gave a more accurate time measure and more frequent assessment of compliance than the other two methods. “Given the ubiquity of cellular telephone use, and the relative ease of this adherence measurement method, we believe it is a useful and cost-effective approach,” the researchers wrote.

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