Medisafe, a technology vendor that markets a personalized medication management platform, has unveiled at HIMSS17 a new feature that alerts users of possible drug-to-drug interactions that may cause unexpected side effects and/or alter the way medications perform. The interactions feature also includes disclosures when medications have other lifestyle implications, such as interactions with specific foods or alcohol.
With this latest enhancement, Medisafe is aiming to reduce the millions of preventable health emergencies resulting from dangerous medication combinations as well as increase adherence to medications patients are not taking as prescribed, due to side effects related to a known interaction.
The majority of Medisafe users are managing multiple medications; in many cases the medications are filled at different pharmacies and downloaded directly into Medisafe using the app’s medication import feature, the vendor explained. As a result, an individual physician may not know all of the drugs a patient has been prescribed, the vendor added.
Annually, medication errors lead to an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths, Medisafe said. Of this total, an estimated 7,000 deaths occur due to adverse drug reactions, it added. Less understood to date is the impact on adherence. However, a recent study conducted by Medisafe found adherence to some common medications to be as much as 10% lower when taken with a contraindicated medication. The study also found that, on average, two out of 10 Medisafe users taking at least two medications are at risk of a “major” or “severe” interaction. The Medisafe platform distinguishes between interactions based on their level of health risk using a four-point scale: minor, moderate, major and severe.
With the drug-to-drug interactions alerts feature, after Medisafe users add a medication that has a known severe or major interaction with another medication in their virtual pillbox, they receive an alert in the app’s Updates section advising them of the potential dangers and to consult their treating physician immediately.
All interactions, from minor to severe, as well as lifestyle, appear on a drug’s “med info” screen. Users can consult this screen at any time, but they will not receive a proactive alert.
In the coming weeks, users will additionally be able to look up the known interactions for any medication using Medisafe’s soon-to-be-launched Interaction Checker.
“Dangerous drug-to-drug interactions are preventing people trying to follow their prescribed regimens from getting the expected benefit, sending them to the hospital unnecessarily, or even causing premature deaths,” said Jon Michaeli, executive vice president of business development and marketing at Medisafe.