Smart pill dispenser could change the way people take medication

Gabrielle Woodard

Two Kent State psychology professors, Dr. Anthony Sterns and Dr. Joel Hughes, have created an automatic pill dispenser that not only reminds people to take their medication by lighting up, but also by sending a reminder to their smartphone.

While prescriptions have become a daily part of many lives, many people have trouble taking their medication correctly. According to the US National Library of Medicine, “75 percent of people have trouble taking their medicine as directed.”

The pill dispenser is called the iLid Rx and could change the way people take medication in the future. Some medication requires a very strict schedule and dosage. Oftentimes people are prescribed more than one medication at a time. Leah Bruno, a junior chemistry major, has seen this firsthand.

“My father underwent knee surgery two summers ago and due to the pain and the sedative state from the combination of drugs, he would often forget to take his medication,“ Bruno said.

The iLid Rx could remind patients who may not be in a clear state of mind to take their medication.

“We would love for (the iLid Rx) to be the cognitive help that people need to stay on track,” Sterns said.

Sterns – CEO of iRx Reminder – and Hughes, joined together to create a technology that would improve how people take their prescriptions while also improving clinical trials for new medications.

“The typical clinical trial could cost around 70 million dollars and have a 30 percent dropout rate,” Sterns said. “Our technology costs about one percent of that… but if we can change the dropout rate to about five percent, we can save $18 million dollars on that study.”

The pill dispenser will allow those running the clinical trial to see if the person is taking the medicine as often as and when they are supposed to.

Hughes and Sterns have a little more work they would like to do before selling their product.

“First, we would like to get the technology to work as seamlessly as possible,” Hughes said. “Then we would like to license this to pharmaceutical corporations and researchers that are doing a study of whether or not a drug works.”

The iLid Rx and the iRx Reminder will be used in its first clinical trial in January of next year.

Gabrielle Woodard is the arts and sciences reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]