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Smart prescription bottle trial to study medication adherence

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The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research has launched a research program and clinical trial to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the Black community and determine the best behavioural interventions to lower cardiovascular disease.

CVD disproportionally affects the Black community, but this disparity could be addressed by increasing adherence to protocols for taking potentially life-saving medications.

The fully virtual trial will initially enrol 42 participants and incorporate smart-tech-enabled prescription bottles, which will collect data on the dose and timing of when cholesterol-lowering medication and statins are taken orally.

The data will prompt text messages to remind or encourage users to adhere to their medication regimen.

Mark Butler, PhD, an assistant investigator in the Institute of Health System Science and principal investigator on the trial said: “Cardiovascular disease is a major driver of death, particularly among people in the Black community. Understanding how to promote adherence to life-saving medications is one of the best ways we have to shrink that disparity.

“With the support of TD Bank and colleagues across the health system, we hope to determine the best intervention strategies to help people stick to their prescribed treatments and improve their cardiovascular health.”

Medication adherence is crucial for improving health and yet 50 per cent of the prescriptions filled in the United States are taken incorrectly.

The trial’s primary goal is to increase medication adherence by at least 20 per cent using text-message-delivered interventions to reduce CVD disparities.

Additionally, the team will collect data on the ideal ‘intervention dose’, the most beneficial frequency of text messages needed to meaningfully increase medication adherence.

The trial’s text message cues will use a multi-behavioural change technique (BCT) intervention, which incorporates feedback on behaviour, monitoring, goal-setting, action planning and prompts to encourage positive health behaviour.

For example, a participant may receive the text message “Did you take your medication as prescribed today?” requiring a response of “Yes” or “No,” ideally prompting a positive behaviour.

The Institute of Health System Science, led by Karina Davidson, PhD, the Donald and Barbara Zucker professor in health outcomes, is a multidisciplinary team of scientists and clinicians whose research efforts are centred on developing evidence-based interventions, often using new technologies to improve health outcomes for individuals, organizations and communities.

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