Text messaging service helps people take their pills

A text messaging service could help people remember to take the medicines they have been prescribed, say researchers. A test scheme, which involved heart patients, cut the numbers who forgot or just stopped taking their pills. One in six was helped to continue their treatment, reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke.
It has been estimated that the NHS spends more than £500m on wasted medicines and avoidable illness. Other research has shown around a third of patients do not take their medicine as directed. Study leader Prof David Wald said text reminders could be used by GPs, hospital doctors and pharmacists for a range of different conditions, including diabetes, TB and HIV.
In the study, published in Plos ONE, 300 patients who were already on blood pressure medicines or statins were either sent daily texts for two weeks followed by a fortnight of alternate days, then weekly texts for six months, or no texts at all. Participants had to reply to say whether they had taken their medication, whether the message had reminded them to take it if they had forgotten, or whether they had simply not taken it.