Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 28th 2014 Contents B28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, April 28, 2014
South and Central, it's your turn for fun as the magic comes to the
Southern Academy of the Performing Arts!!! Crazy Catholic and
D C Shell Theatre will take you, your family and friends into Fairy Land!!
From the producers of Rapunzel, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty,
Snow White, Rumpelstilskin, Red Riding Hood, Bollywood and Phantom of the NAPA
comes a brand new play based on the story by the Brothers Grimm.
Another memorable show for the entire family,
written and directed by the Crazy Catholic.
You are invited to fairyland - Magic,
Romance, Comedy and Non-Stop Fun
Please add us!
D C SHELL THEATRE
and CRAZY CATHOLI
Don't dream... come!
FRIDAY 2nd MAY - 8.30 p.m.
SATURDAY 3rd MAY - 7.30 p.m.
SUNDAY 4th MAY - 5.30 pm
FRIDAY 2nd MAY - 10.00 a.m.
SPECIAL SCHOOL SHOW: All schools invited
BUY 1 TICKET: Get 1 ticket free ($150)
Produced by D C Shell Theatre
Pioneers in Family
Fairy Tales, Bollywood
& Clean Comedy.
SAPA box office opens from
Wednesday 30 April at 11am daily
732-5796, 683-6496, 796-4272, 750-0104
Medicine only helps if you take it
properly. And adhering to an exact
schedule of what to take, and when,
can be challenging for patients who
are forgetful or need to take several
Doctors warn about the conse-
quences and urge patients to use various
techniques, such as using divided pill
boxes or putting their pill bottles beside
their toothbrush as a reminder to take
their morning and bedtime medicines.
Still, only about half of patients take
medication as prescribed, resulting in
unnecessary hospital admissions and
ER visits that cost the US health care
system an estimated $290 billion a year.
To help combat the problem, many
doctors are trying a more high-tech
approach: They re recommending
smartphone apps that send reminders
to patients to take their medications
and record when they take each one.
"I think it s going to become pretty
standard" for doctors to recommend
them, said Dr Michael A Weber, a car-
diologist at SUNY Downstate Medical
Center. Weber began recommending
apps to patients a few months ago and
already has seen better lab results from
a few using them.
"Some people say, That s a great
idea, " Weber said. "Even ones who
claim they re conscientious, like the
He said the apps are particularly
helpful for patients with symptomless
conditions, such as high blood pressure
or high cholesterol. Those patients are
less likely to regularly take their med-
ications than someone with pain or an
"I don t think they re going to change
the world," Weber said, though he
recognises the benefit of apps. Even
so, he said smartphone apps won t do
much to help people who simply don t
like taking medicine, fear side effects
or can t afford their prescriptions.
It s too soon to tell how well the apps
keep patients compliant or how long
they keep using them.
Darrell West, director of the Center
for Technology Innovation at the inde-
pendent public policy group Brookings
Institution, said some doctors have
reported better medication adherence,
but there haven t been large scale stud-
ies on the effectiveness of such apps.
The apps began appearing a few years
ago and now there are dozens.
Available functions include providing
more detailed information on the
patient s medication and illness,
prompts to refill prescriptions, e-mail
alerts about possible drug interactions,
doctor locators and more.
Some have symptom checkers, and
one called iPharmacy can identify pills
when patients enter their shape, color
and imprinted text. Others are just for
women on birth control pills or patches
(myPill) or patients with complex
chronic diseases, such as cancer (Care-
Zone Cancer), diabetes (Diabetes Pacer,
which also tracks blood sugar and exer-
cise) or HIV (My Health Matters, from
drugmaker Merck & Co). For those
patients, getting off schedule or ignoring
symptoms can have particularly serious
Still more apps take distinct
approaches. For instance, Mango Health
lets users earn points for complying
with their medication schedule. Those
points can be turned into gift cards or
CEO and founder Jason Oberfest,
formerly head of game platforms at
MySpace, said Mango Health partners
with doctors and health insurers who
are recommending its app to patients
The app, featured in Apple s iTunes
store, gives a history showing users
daily results and point total, plus graphs
comparing an individual s adherence
to other app users. According to the
company, 46 per cent of its monthly
visitors use the app daily and 60 per
cent are still using it after four months.
For widely used classes of drugs for
depression, diabetes, high cholesterol
and high blood pressure, the company
claims at least 80 per cent of its users
take their meds as prescribed. That s
compared to 59 per cent or less in inde-
pendent studies of overall patient
adherence for those drug classes.
"We ve heard from people using the
application as old as their mid- 70s
and older," Oberfest said, but it s espe-
cially popular with the 35-to-55 age
group, people familiar with video
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and advice
---Check whether it's available for
your smartphone's operating system.
Some are only available for one
system or haven't been updated for
the latest phones.
---Ask your doctor's opinion. Some
may not be up on the different apps
but have staff members who can help
patients pick and install apps.
---Start with one of the many free or
low-cost apps. Search your app store
for "medication reminder."
---Think about what you'll really use.
If you only want reminders to take
your pills, that's all you need. If you're
taking multiple drugs or change
medications often, you might prefer
an app with information on your
condition, drug interactions and other
---To protect your privacy, pick one
with password protection.
---If your life is hectic, consider one
with a snooze function.
Here are some tips for choosing an app:
Smartphone apps remind
patients to take their meds
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