HOW HANDY IS THE PILL BOX

Stay away from spoiled medicines.

Woman's Era - - Contents - Aruna Shishir Sinha

“THE AIR IN IN­DIA IS FULL OF POL­LU­TANTS. ALSO THERE EX­ISTS A HUGE AMOUNT OF MOIS­TURE IN THE AIR. PILLBOXES EX­POSE THE DRUGS TO MOIS­TURE AND POL­LU­TION.

When ev­ery small thing be­comes an is­sue in the med­i­cal field, ques­tions on how safe even parac­eta­mol and other run of the mill OTC ab­sorb, it is but nat­u­ral that one even ques­tions the ef­fi­cacy of the harm­less pill box. Re­mem­ber those white, pink and laven­der boxes which many peo­ple view as a handy store­house of pills? All ar­ranged day-wise, time-wise mak­ing the lives of older pa­tients eas­ier. Even chil­dren of se­nior ci­ti­zens rave about how con­ve­nient it is to check on and ad­vise their rel­a­tives on nec­es­sary medicines. But wait a minute. Are these pillboxes com­pletely in­nocu­ous?

Not ev­ery­one is of the opin­ion that pillboxes are safe, easy to use and a big re­lief from con­stant worry whether their dear ones are tak­ing their meds on time day in and day out. Vikas M is hugely scep­ti­cal. He says, “No one re­ally knows whether the pill­box is air­tight or not. When drugs come into con­tact with oxy­gen they mingle with the at­mo­spheric gases and it won’t sur­prise me if some re­ac­tion oc­curs com­pletely dam­ag­ing the medicines. Pillboxes are re­ally dan­ger­ous that way.”

Shanta J sec­onds this thought. Ac­cord­ing to her, there is no doubt that they are very handy. If she has to go out for a few days and leave her old mother alone, she would be free of worry. Any per­son, lit­er­ate or oth­er­wise, can be eas­ily trusted to take their dose of drugs with reg­u­lar­ity. How­ever, with gi­ant strides be­ing made in the field of medicine, pillboxes are too small to be given a thought to. No doc­tor has ever come to the aid of per­sons tak­ing a large num­ber of medicines ad­vo­cat­ing the use of pillboxes for the dis­pen­sa­tion of tablets.

The ris­ing use of pillboxes by the older gen­er­a­tion has come to the no­tice of con­cerned doc­tors. Dr Mad­hu­ven­dra Sinha, a car­diac sur­geon, is wor­ried over the use of pillboxes. He is firmly against their use. He says, “The air in In­dia is full of pol­lu­tants. Also there ex­ists a huge amount of mois­ture in the air. Pillboxes ex­pose the drugs to mois­ture and pol­lu­tion. The ef­fi­cacy of medicines is com­pletely lost. In pa­tients suf­fer­ing from se­ri­ous ail­ments the drugs are life savers and us­ing use­less drugs will lead to se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions. Moist tablets are a def­i­nite no.”

He says these are used to save the bother of hav­ing to read the pre­scrip­tion ev­ery day and tear pills out of their pack­ag­ing. The best thing would to tear open the tablet pack­ag­ing ev­ery time you ad­min­is­ter a dose.

Dr Sri­ram Cha­van, a doc­tor prac­tis­ing gen­eral medicine, is also of the same view. He, how­ever, does not deny that some­times there boxes are use­ful, es­pe­cially if the pa­tient is old and for­get­ful and when a care­taker is not around. The con­cept is won­der­ful. Only the ex­e­cu­tion is faulty. There are no stan­dards and du­bi­ous com­pa­nies man­u­fac­ture these boxes. The qual­ity varies form shop to shop. He, how­ever, stressed that in our coun­try it is much bet­ter to tear open the pack­ag­ing and give pa­tients freshly-opened drugs. So the fact re­mains if you care for your peo­ple please stay away from hand­ing them spoiled medicines.

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