Blister Packaging Trumps Bottles For Patient Compliance, Study Shows

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Blister Packaging Trumps Bottles For Patient Compliance, Study Shows

Patients taking medication packaged in a blister card sleeve rather than in a traditional bottle are more likely to take the prescribed dosage at the proper time, a study conducted by researchers from Ohio State University and the University of Arizona suggests.

“Packaging can assist patients with compliance,” says Renard Jackson, executive vice-president of sales and business development at Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH), a manufacturer of blister cards. “We see evidence of it in products like birth control pills that are packaged in compliance-prompting packaging versus pharmacy-style brown bottles.”

The purpose of the study was to determine whether or not a compliance-prompting package could improve patient adherence to a drug regimen for a chronic disease. The disease state studied was hypertension and the drug used was lisinopril. The 88 study participants were divided randomly into two groups: one group was provided with the drug in a bottle package and the other with the product in a blister card, in which a 28-day supply was set up in a four-week regimen. The prompting feature on the blister package was a day label that the patient placed on the top of the card when the first dose was ingested.

According to the two-year long study, 14% more of the patients using the blister card packaging refilled their prescriptions on time than did those using the bottle packaging. More important, 48% of the subjects in the blister-pack group lowered their diastolic blood pressure after 12 months, as opposed to only 18% of the participants using bottled product. A few patients, however, complained that the blister packaging was difficult to open.


“As the federal government develops policies for new prescription drug benefits for older adults, there is a need to consider how these medications are distributed,” said Phillip Schneider, the study’s lead author and a clinical professor of pharmacy at Ohio State University. “Although blister packs are slightly more expensive than a bottle, people often forget to take their bottled medications, or get confused on how to take them properly. Offering long-term medication in this type of packaging could ultimately save millions of dollars.”

–George Koroneos