In connection with self-administration of medicine for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, patients with weak hands and elderly patients in general, the design of many medicine containers makes them awkward to handle for the patients. In this investigation 12 different medicine containers were tested. The 12 containers represent the antirheumatic medicine containers available on the market in Denmark in 1988. Sixty patients participated in the investigation. Thirty had rheumatoid arthritis and 30 had normal hand function. The age range was 40-85 years The patients had the choice between five possible answers concerning each container. In all patients, grip strength was measured. The patients with rheumatoid arthritis were classified in four functional classes, and pulpa-vola distance end thumb–5th MCP point distance were measured. The opening mechanisms of 29% of the antirheumatic medicine containers are unacceptable; these are plastic containers with a “push-off” top and suppository packs. 46%–(containers with screw cap or pressure dispensing) are considered acceptable. For 25% (tablet and capsule blister packs) the patients’ estimate varied. It is important that medicine containers can be opened by the patients without difficulty, so that they do not present a hindrance to a correct intake of medicine or result in an unnecessary admission to hospital. The results of this investigation show that it is of continuous importance to encourage the production of medicine containers that comply with the requirements of the patients.
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