Calendar packaging can boost medication adherence

October 15, 2011

When it comes to medication adherence, calendar blister packs have it all over those old-fashioned vials.

Key Points

Patients using blister packs of lisinopril and enalapril with calendar dates showed a significant improvement in medication adherence compared to those who took the pills from bottles, reported a recent study published in .

The 2-year retrospective analysis was conducted by consulting and research firm Venebio for MeadWestvaco Corp., which manufactures Shellpack. It reviewed Walmart pharmacy dispensing data for 3.1 million individuals filling prescriptions for the generic medications lisinopril or enalapril, either alone or in combination with hydrochlorothiazide. Measurements were taken before and after Walmart changed the packaging for the medications from bottles to blister packaging.

An intuitive strategy

"The most common reason patients give for not taking medications as prescribed is forgetfulness. Reminder packaging is intuitive as a strategy," said Barbara K. Zedler, MD, clinical researcher with Venebio and co-author of the Walmart study.

Shellpacks are designed so that the 30-day blister packs of medication are labeled with the date or the day of week. "It provides a visual record to the patient about when they took their last dose," Zedler said.