Research database

This Research Database has been developed by HCPC Europe to create an overview of the available research in the field of patient-friendly and adherence packaging. The database is for all members of HCPC Europe. Members can register as a user to get access to the database. Is your organisation not a member yet? Then please register your organisation as a member or contact our Executive Director Ger Standhardt for more information.

A Spanish Pillbox App for Elderly Patients Taking Multiple Medications: Randomized Controlled Trial

Background: Nonadherence and medication errors are common among patients with complex drug regimens. Apps for smartphones and tablets are effective for improving adherence, but they have not been tested in elderly patients with complex chronic conditions and who typically have less experience with this type of technology.

Objective: The objective of this study was to design, implement, and evaluate a medication self-management app (called ALICE) for elderly patients taking multiple medications with the intention of improving adherence and safe medication use.

Methods: A single-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted with a control and an experimental group (N=99) in Spain in 2013. The characteristics of ALICE were specified based on the suggestions of 3 nominal groups with a total of 23 patients and a focus group with 7 professionals. ALICE was designed for Android and iOS to allow for the personalization of prescriptions and medical advice, showing images of each of the medications (the packaging and the medication itself) together with alerts and multiple reminders for each alert. The randomly assigned patients in the control group received oral and written information on the safe use of their medications and the patients in the experimental group used ALICE for 3 months. Pre and post measures included rate of missed doses and medication errors reported by patients, scores from the 4-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-4), level of independence, self-perceived health status, and biochemical test results. In the experimental group, data were collected on their previous experience with information and communication technologies, their rating of ALICE, and their perception of the level of independence they had achieved. The intergroup intervention effects were calculated by univariate linear models and ANOVA, with the pre to post intervention differences as the dependent variables.

Results: Data were obtained from 99 patients (48 and 51 in the control and experimental groups, respectively). Patients in the experimental group obtained better MMAS-4 scores (P<.001) and reported fewer missed doses of medication (P=.02). ALICE only helped to significantly reduce medication errors in patients with an initially higher rate of errors (P<.001). Patients with no experience with information and communication technologies reported better adherence (P<.001), fewer missed doses (P<.001), and fewer medication errors (P=.02). The mean satisfaction score for ALICE was 8.5 out of 10. In all, 45 of 51 patients (88%) felt that ALICE improved their independence in managing their medications.

Conclusions: The ALICE app improves adherence, helps reduce rates of forgetting and of medication errors, and increases perceived independence in managing medication. Elderly patients with no previous experience with information and communication technologies are capable of effectively using an app designed to help them take their medicine more safely.

Trial Registration: NCT02071498; (Archived by WebCite at

Drivers of pharmaceutical packaging innovation: A customer-supplier relationship case study

• The study presents a theoretical framework of packaging innovation drivers.
• Technology and legislation drive contemporary pharmaceutical packaging innovation.
• There are limited logistics, marketing, and sustainability drivers of pharmaceutical packaging innovation.
• External driving forces are proposed to pull innovation toward patient-centered packaging solutions.

Statin non-adherence and residual cardiovascular risk: There is need for substantial improvement

Although statin therapy has proven to be the cornerstone for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD), there are many patients for whom long-term therapy remains suboptimal. The aims of this article are to review the current complex issues associated with statin use and to explore when novel treatment approaches should be considered.

Statin discontinuation as well as adherence to statin therapy remain two of the greatest challenges for lipidologists. Evidence suggests that between 40 and 75% of patients discontinue their statin therapy within one year after initiation. Furthermore, whilst the reasons for persistence with statin therapy are complex, evidence shows that low-adherence to statins negatively impacts clinical outcomes and residual CV risk remains a major concern.

Non-adherence or lack of persistence with long-term statin therapy in real-life may be the main cause of inadequate low density lipoprotein cholesterol lowering with statins. There is a large need for the improvement of the use of statins, which have good safety profiles and are inexpensive. On the other hand, in a non-cost-constrained environment, proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 inhibitors should arguably be used more often in those patients in whom treatment with statins remains unsatisfactory.