US 20060124658 A1
A pill dispenser includes a housing having a pill dispensing opening, and a display area, a holder portion of the housing having a plurality of pill holding slots arranged in a substantially circular layout, an actuator for rotatably moving the plurality of pill holding slots to provide individual access through the pill dispensing opening in a sequential manner; and a time interval indicator assembly operatively engaged to the holder portion for communicating to the user a time interval through the display area corresponding to one of the plurality of pill holding slots. The indicator assembly includes a rotatable dial mounted to the cover and operatively engaged to the actuator, the rotatable dial including indicia printed thereon for permitting a sequential display through the display area.
1. A pill dispenser comprising:
a housing having a pill dispensing opening, and a display area;
a holder portion of said housing having a plurality of pill holding slots arranged in a substantially circular layout;
actuating means for rotatably moving the plurality of pill holding slots to provide individual access through said pill dispensing opening in a sequential manner; and
indicating means operatively engaged to said holder portion for communicating to the user a time interval through the display area corresponding to one of said plurality of pill holding slots.
2. The pill dispenser of
3. The pill dispenser of
4. The pill dispenser of
The present invention is relates to a pill dispensing case, and more particularly a pill dispenser having patient compliant indicating means, which automatically updates itself each time the user dispenses a pill at periodic intervals.
In writing out prescriptions, physicians typically include instructions pertaining to the frequency of ingestion of prescribed medication in specific time intervals (e.g. once a day). Such intervals may range from a matter of hours to days depending on the medication and the condition being treated. Examples of pills that are prescribed in a set periodic time regimen include those that are administered for birth control, for regulating blood pressure, for regulating blood lipids, as antibiotics, and for treating a variety of other ailments such as diabetes. Failure to properly follow the physician's instructions often results in ineffective treatment, possible injury or even death. Thus, it is important to ensure patient compliance with prescription medications and other medications as well.
The packaging of pills is well known in the art. Typically, pill cases contain a plurality of pills which can be accessed by the user as needed. Such cases are typically in the form of the standard pill containers or vials often equipped with a child resistant cap. Such containers generally lack any compliance features which facilitate the patient taking the proper dosage of the medication at the proper time interval. In addition, the standard containers are frequently difficult to open especially by those with limited dexterity such as the elderly.
Blister packs have been developed to facilitate a proper dosage regimen. Blister packs house a preselected number of pills which are protected so that they cannot be broken by contact with other pills. The blister packs store pills in spaced apart pill receiving cavities which are then sealed using a protective cover such as coated paper, foil, plastic or the like. The pills may be removed from the cavities one at a time by piercing the cover or by applying pressure to one side of the covered pill until the pill bursts through the protective cover. The blister pack form of packaging permits the patient to see the pills through a clear portion of the protective cover thus permitting the patient to see which pills have been taken and how many doses remain. This packaging also allows a dosage counter or schedule to be printed on the packaging material. However, such schedule are not easily adjusted to correspond with an actual dosing date. Moreover, blister packs are also difficult for patients with limited dexterity to access the packaged pills for dispensing.
It is important that the patient be able to determine whether or not a pill has been taken at the correct time and that another pill will be available in the proper time. This ensures that the patient completes the medication regimen in a proper manner. It is also important for the patient to be able to access the pills with minimal difficulty, while maintaining adequate safety features to prevent accidental dispensing. Pill dispensers are known in the art and typically are desirably compact so that they can be carried by the user in a purse or in a shirt pocket or other convenient location.
Pill dispensers currently available typically utilize discrete pill holding compartments each printed with indicia. The indicia generally represents the days of the week or dosing numbers that allows the patient to view when the last dosage was dispensed. The system that uses dosing numbers can encounter problems where the patient fails to recall when the medication was initially dispensed or what dosing number correlates to which day. The system that uses the days of the week provides a more intuitive approach to tracking dosages of medication since there is a day-to-day correlation. However, this system limits pill dispensers to dosing regimens that are multiples of seven (e.g., 7, 14, 21, 28 doses) to maintain the correlation with the days of the week.
Despite these efforts there remains the need for a pill storage/dispensing device that is a) compact, b) provides easy access to the pills, c) capable of accommodating pills for a variety of extended prescription periods, d) capable of promoting compliance in patients by reducing confusion, uncertainty or forgetfulness, and e) equipped to prevent unintentional access of the pills to children.
It would therefore be a significant advantage in the art to provide users an opportunity to house medications in a pill dispenser which can readily accommodate individual pills in discrete pill holding slots and which facilitates dispensing of the desired dose of pills. It would also be an advantage in the art if the pill dispenser can readily accommodate varying quantity of pills or doses depending on the particular requirements of the medication and the dosage regimen required by the patient. It would be a further advantage in the art to provide a pill dispenser that can accommodate various time intervals (e.g. up to and more than 30 days), and it would be a still further advantage in the art if the pill dispenser is compact, easy to carry and store in a purse, shirt pocket or the like.
The present invention is generally directed to a pill dispenser that includes compliance features which facilitate proper medication dosing over the period of time that the pills are to be dispensed (i.e. regimen period). The pill dispenser includes a housing with a pill dispensing opening and a display area for displaying indicia corresponding to a particular day of the week. The housing includes a pill holding portion having a plurality of pill holding slots arranged in a substantially circular layout, and actuating means for moving the pill holding portion relative to the pill dispensing opening whereby individual access to one of the plurality of pill holding slots can be made therethrough. The pill dispenser further includes patient compliant indicator means in operative engagement with the pill holding portion to display in the display area, the day of the week corresponding to the pill holding slot in communication with the opening. Optionally, the actuating means includes a locking mechanism that must be disengaged to move the pill holding portion, thereby incorporating child safety features that prevent accidental dispensing.
The pill holding portion may be adapted to receive and accommodate any number of pills depending on the maximum capacity of the dispenser for matching with a particular dosage regimen particularly suited for the patient. For example, if the patient requires a 15 day medication regimen or a 30 day regimen, then the pill holding portion of the pill dispenser may be filled to accommodate the required number of pills. The pill dispenser of the present invention can therefore accommodate short- and long-term prescriptions and is not limited to dosage regimens that are multiples of seven.
It will be understood that reference to the term “pill” as used herein shall include not only pills of a variety of shapes and sizes but all forms of dispensable products or articles of manufacture such as medications which can effectively be housed in the device of the present invention including tablets, capsules, lozenges, caplets and the like. Likewise, all reference to a “pill dispenser” shall mean a dispenser which can accommodate the dispensable product or article of manufacture.
In one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a pill dispenser comprising:
a housing having a pill dispensing opening, and a display area;
a holder portion of the housing having a plurality of pill holding slots arranged in a substantially circular layout;
actuating means for rotatably moving the plurality of pill holding slots to provide individual access through the pill dispensing opening in a sequential manner; and
indicating means operatively engaged to the holder portion for communicating to the user a time interval through the display area corresponding to one of the plurality of pill holding slots.
The following drawings in which like reference characters indicate like parts are illustrative of embodiments of the invention and are not intended to limit the invention as encompassed by the claims forming part of the application.
The present invention is directed to a pill dispenser that includes compliance features which facilitate proper medication dosing over the regimen period. The pill dispenser includes a housing with a pill dispensing opening and a display area for displaying a particular day of the week. The housing includes a pill holding portion having a plurality of pill holding slots arranged in a substantially circular layout, and actuating means for moving the pill holding portion relative to the pill dispensing opening whereby individual access to one of the plurality of pill holding slots can be made through the pill dispensing opening. The pill dispenser further includes indicator means in operative engagement with the pill holding portion to display in the display area the day of the week corresponding to the pill holding slot in communication with the opening. Optionally, the actuating means includes a locking mechanism that must be disengaged to implement the dispensing operation.
The pill dispenser of the present invention is ergonomically designed to assist those with limited dexterity and is sufficiently compact for easy carry and storage in one's pocket, purse or tight space. The design of the present invention offers a higher perceived value to the product contained, improved aesthetics, and ease of handling and use. The pill dispenser of the present invention includes features that enable the patient to properly follow a medication regimen, and is capable of accommodating any number of doses. This feature reduces the time and expense associated with packaging and dispensing pills.
It will be understood that the present invention can be used to store and dispense a variety of articles such as gum, confections, and the like. For illustrative purposes, reference hereinafter will be to a pill dispenser for dispensing pills. Although rectangular pills are shown, it is to be understood that the present dispenser may be modified to receive elongated and elliptical pills, tablets, capsules and the like.
Referring to the drawings and first to
The pill dispenser 10 includes a housing 12 formed in combination from a base portion 14 and a substantially transparent cover 16, and a dose-designating dial 18. The pill dispenser 10 is designed to accommodate and retain a plurality of pills 20 in a spaced apart substantially circular arrangement for individual dispensing through a dispensing opening 22 located in the cover 16. The opening 22 may include a lid or covering (not shown) in the form of a removable tab, tape or lamination to prevent pills from falling out prior to beginning the dosage regimen and to provide tamper resistant safety measures. Each pill 20 occupies a pill holding slot 24. The cover includes a hand-gripping portion 26 to allow a patient to operate the pill dispenser 10, and a display area 28 as will be described hereinafter.
The pill dispenser 10 is designed to dispense a pill 20 in a secure and measured manner. The cover 16 is rotatable in a clockwise direction within the base portion 14 to advance the opening 22 to the next pill holding slot 24 for dispensing. Concurrently, a dose designating dial 18 rotatably advances to the next indicia 27 within the display area 28. Thus, each pill holding slot 24 is sequentially associated with an indicia 27 on the dial 18.
The pill dispenser 10 may further include a locking mechanism (not shown) that prevents the cover 16 from rotating, and unintentionally dispensing a pill 20. The locking mechanism is similar to the types found on standard medication vials or bottles utilizing child-proof caps as known to one of ordinary skill in the art. This feature prevents persons other than the patient such as a child from gaining access to the pills 20 contained therein.
The cover 16 is mounted and secured to the top side of the base portion 14 through operative engagement of the outwardly biased retaining clips 34 with the bottom exterior end of the bore 32 (as best shown in
In the present embodiment as shown, the pill dispenser 10 is adapted to accommodate up to thirty daily doses. It will be understood, however, that a greater or lesser number of daily doses may be accommodated by the present device. In the illustrated embodiment, the gearing assembly is configured to cause the cover 16 to be movable in increments of 1/30th of a rotation to advance the opening 22 to the next pill holding slot 24, while at the same time, the dial 18 rotates 1/7th of a rotation to reveal the next indicia 27 corresponding to the next day of the week through the display area 28. When the opening 22 is aligned with one of the pill holding slots 24, the corresponding indicia 27 is visible through the display area 28. This design allows the pill dispenser 10 flexibly accommodate any number of doses in addition to those measured in multiples of seven.