I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.
When I found out that there was a chance to review a product that would help me keep track of my medications, I was really excited. Medications had become a huge part of my life and I was tired of being held hostage by a bunch of little bottles.
Okay, that is a little exaggerated. But there HAD to be a better way.
When you take well over 20 prescription meds and supplements up to 6 times a day, it can get pretty confusing to keep track. I would do up pill packs once a week, one for each meal plus wake-ups, evening and bedtime. My hubby even set alarms on my phone, but I would be busy and just turn off the alarm and forget to take them. Or, I would not get the packs filled on time and so I would have to get the pills I needed out of the bottles each time.
Well, the day my PillDrill system showed up at my door I was like a kid at Christmas time. I couldn’t wait to open it and start playing. And I can say with all honesty, it did not disappoint.
So, what is PillDrill?
To quote the site,
“PillDrill was designed to be the first truly user-friendly medication management tool: simple enough for everyone to use, flexible enough to help anyone, and dignified because health products don’t need to be scary to work well.”
It is an integrated system that works with your computer and/or cell phone (or can be completely stand alone) to monitor your medications and remind you when to take them.
The system consists of:
- a hub that tracks dosages and gives off alarms when they are due
- USB cable and A/C adapter
- 2 pill strips and pods to track a week’s worth of similar medications (numbered 1 & 2)
- 12 tags (letters A-L) for bottles and other medications (inhalers, supplements) that are taken as needed or don’t require a pod
- tag holders to use when sticking the tag on the bottle is not the best option
- A Mood cube that allows you to record how you are feeling in relation to your medications
- A phone app and web account used for setting up medications and tracking doses
The initial kit costs USD $199 and is available on the PillDrill Site or at CVS.com. You can purchase extra pill strips as needed at USD $29.95 for a package of 2 (3-4, 5-6, 7-8). An extra set of 12 tags (letters M-Z minus N and W) are USD $12.95. All of these prices are reasonable in relationship to how well this product works.
Since I am home most of the time we set the hub up on my desk and connected it with the USB cable directly to my computer. The unit can stand alone with the cable and adapter plugged into any outlet. It works via WiFi with your cell phone (or computer). You set up an account on the site and control your hub from there. You also can download an app to your phone or tablet. I use both the computer and my phone app if I am out.
The way the system works is you enter all of your medications and supplements into the application (under your own account). Each medication is either assigned one of the tag letters or is included in the strips. You schedule times for each bottle and/or strip. You can enter more than one time for a tagged bottle and the strips have one time each which covers all days of the week. Medications which are not scheduled are entered and tagged, then used on an “as needed” basis.
When a scheduled item becomes due, you tap/swipe the tag or bottom of the pod on the WiFi symbol on the hub and then take the medication that is right there in your hand. The alarm goes off after a few minutes; however, the hub keeps flashing until the tag is tapped or the item is canceled on the account or phone app.
I chose to try and use a letter that matched the medication name as in “F” for Flexeril. For prescription bottles that will likely be the same from refill to refill, I stick the tag onto the lid and just transfer it to the new bottle. For bottles that may change or items that are an awkward shape (inhalers), I use one of the tag holders. I also use the tag holder in a different way. I take three different types of over the counter cold medication – night and day capsules and an all-in-one liquid cough medicine. They all have the same basic medicine and Tylenol so I just use one “C” tag in a holder and use it for all three.
It is absolutely amazing how my life has changed with Pill Drill. I can hear the alarm go off almost anywhere in the house and I go in, swipe the pod or bottle(s) on the hub, and take my medicine. If I am out, I just make sure I have what I will need with me and my phone alerts me. I can clear the item through the app and it will relay it to the hub.
I set up my two strips for my morning and evening meds because I take the most then. However, I was using 4 – 5 bottles each for my breakfast and dinner pills. So, I ordered two more strips, numbered “3” and “4” and now only take a single bottle at lunch, along with my as needed medications. For me, this works very well.
Another feature that can be valuable is that messages can be sent to a loved one to say that you have taken your pills (or not) at any scheduled time.
The mood cube can be used to record how you are feeling at pill time or any other time for that matter. It records whether you are great, good, okay, bad or awful. I haven’t used this feature much but I see where it could be handy.
I did have some hiccups along the way. My “B” tag never worked from the beginning. I emailed the company and they sent one (free of charge) with my order. A second tag, the “G” all of a sudden stopped working. Since I have them at my desk it could have easily come in contact with my cell phone or other battery so I am now careful to keep the meds out of the way. I switched the G with another tag and everything was fine.
The one feature I wish was available was a notation field to note why a dose was missed or why I took my extra pain medication. I relayed this to the company and again I got a very timely answer.
Yes, this is great feedback. It’s actually one of the more commonly requested features and we are working on incorporating a “note” field right now! Stay tuned 🙂
I think this video expresses exactly how I feel about PillDrill right from the frustrations of not having it to the relief and confidence it has given me.
I highly recommend PillDrill for anyone who takes regular medication. It allows you to be in control of one part of your chronic health.