"The Pill Book" goes high tech

April 15, 2013

The popular guide by Harold Silverman, PhD, is now available as an app for iPhones, iPods, and iPads

Up Front

The most trusted consumer drug guide in the United States is now an app.

The Pill Book All-In-One app is based on “The Pill Book,” by Harold M. Silverman, PhD, which has been in print for more than 20 years.

Like the book, the app offers up-to-date information on more than 1,800 of the most commonly prescribed drugs, compiled into concise, easy-to-understand entries that also include possible side effects, cautions and warnings, and drug interactions.

But, unlike the book, the app offers interactive features, all housed within three main tabs: Pill Finder, My Cabinet, and Pharmacy.

Through the Pill Finder, users have access to an in-depth and easy-to-understand prescription information database of more than 100,000 FDA-approved medications. The feature allows users to identify drugs by the generic or brand name, NDC number, imprint, color, or shape. On Siri-enabled devices, consumers can use the voice recognition function to search for drugs as well.

Jake Galdo, PharmD, a clinical pharmacy educator at Barney’s Pharmacy in Augusta, Ga., has tried the app. He told Drug Topics that he liked the way the Pill Finder offers basic drug information, because it empowers patients. He was, however, concerned about patients identifying medications.

“If someone were to have trouble reading the inscription and typed it in wrong, it could lead to all sorts of medication errors,” Galdo said. “I always recommend that patients call the pharmacy where they filled their meds for identification.”

The My Cabinet section functions as a way for users to track medications for several family members and to set up alert reminders for each person to take his or her medication on a set day and time. Personalized profiles are easy to create under this tab and can be done for each family member. Profiles include a current list of medications, insurance and medical information, and physician and pharmacy contacts. Patients can even take and store photos of their medications.

Under the Pharmacy tab, users can search for the nearest pharmacy and get step-by-step directions to it.

The app is available through the iTunes store for $3.99 and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod, and iPad.