Forgetting Your Medications? Study Suggests A Text Reminder May Be Helpful

First Posted: Dec 06, 2014 02:51 PM EST

Can't keep track of when to take all your medications? Could a reminder text help?

Statistics show that many throughout the United States do not take their medications properly. Now, recent findings conducted by researchers at Queen Mary University of London have found that text message reminders could help prevent this problem.

"An important and overlooked problem in medicine is the failure to take prescribed medication," said Professor David Wald, Consultant Cardiologist and Lead Author, Queen Mary University of London, in a news release. "The results of this trial show that text message reminders help prevent this in a simple and effective way. More than just a reminder, the texts provided the link to identify patients who needed help."

For the study, researchers placed 303 patients into either a "text message" group who received periodic text messaged regarding their medication or a "no text" group that did not receive any text messages.

Those in the study were prescribed blood pressure medication, cholesterol lowering medication or a combination of the two.

Patients in the "text message" group then received texts every day for two weeks, every other day for two weeks or weekly for six months. If a patient responded "no" or did not respond, they received a follow up telephone call.

Findings revealed that only 9 percent of patients in the "text message" group completely stopped taking their medication or took less than four fifths of their prescription compared to 25 percent in the "no text" group.

"The health implications of these results are considerable from both an economic and a health gain perspective," added David Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Pharmaceutical and Public Health Policy at UCL. "Most people now own a mobile phone and text messaging could be coupled with each relevant prescription, preventing several thousand heart attacks and strokes in the UK each year. The method is not limited to cardiovascular disease prevention and could be used for patients on treatment for other chronic diseases."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that around 82 percent of American adults are taking at least one medication while 29 percent around taking five or more.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal PLOS ONE

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