Medication compliance in elderly outpatients using twice-daily dosing and unit-of-use packaging

Ronald B. Stewart, Michael D. Murray, Julie A. Birt, Amita K. Manatunga, Jeffrey C. Darnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of unit-of-use drug packaging of medications on compliance among elderly outpatients treated with complex medication regimens. DESIGN: Nonblind, randomized, clinical trial. SETTING: Geriatric outreach health centers in urban public housing units for independent-living elderly people. PATIENTS: Thirty-one patients (aged ≥60 y), each taking three or more prescribed medications. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three study groups: group 1 (n=12), no change in dosing or packaging; group 2 (n=10), conventional packaging with twice-daily dosing; group 3 (n=9), unit-of-use packaging with twice-daily dosing. INTERVENTION: A unit-of-use package consisting of a two-ounce plastic cup with a snap-on lid containing all medications to be taken at the time of dosing. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Medication compliance was assessed monthly for six months using tablet counts. RESULTS: Medication compliance was significantly better in group 3 (92.6 percent) using unit-of-use packaging compared with either group 1 (79 percent) or group 2 (82.6 percent) (p=0.017). Compliance did not differ between groups 1 and 2. CONCLUSIONS: In this small study of elderly outpatients taking three or more medications, unit-of-use packaging and twice-daily dosing improved medication compliance compared with conventional packaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-621
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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