Feasibility of Customized Pillboxes to Enhance Medication Adherence: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Objective: To test the (1) feasibility of an assistive technology based pillbox intervention on medication adherence; (2) feasibility of trial procedures; and (3) preliminary effectiveness of the pillbox intervention on medication adherence. Design: A single-blinded randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted during 2-4 weeks. Setting: Researchers recruited a convenience sample to participate in this university laboratory-based study. Participants: English-speaking consumers of 2 or more daily medications (N=15) participated in the study. Individuals with cognitive impairment or who did not manage their own medications were excluded. Interventions: Participants were randomized to 1 of 3 pillbox interventions: (1) standard-of-care pillbox; (2) customized off-the-shelf pillbox; or (3) customized 3-dimensional (3D) printed pillbox. Main Outcome Measures: Outcome measures were divided among the 3 goals of the study. In addition to feasibility metrics, the Adherence to Refills and Medications Scale was used to measure the primary outcome measure, medication adherence. The Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology was used to measure pillbox satisfaction. Results: Researchers successfully administered 6 standard-of-care, 5 custom off-the-shelf, and 4 custom 3D printed pillboxes. Compared with the standard-of-care pillboxes, customized 3D printed pillboxes had large (d=1.04) and customized off-the-shelf pillboxes had medium (d=0.67) effects on medication adherence. Conclusions: Prescription of customized pillboxes using a manualized and novel assistive technology approach that leverages 3D printing is feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2288-2295
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Medication adherence
  • Printing, three-dimensional
  • Rehabilitation
  • Self-help devices


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