I had always wanted to try PillPack, but wasn’t sure that my insurance would allow me to use them. They say they accept Aetna, but then I also have to wait in the mail for my meds to arrive, which I’m not always willing to do if I’m running low or they’re expensive.
I think I found a do-it-yourself alternative that I like. Even though it takes a little time to use, it’s actually not that bad.
It’s called Pillsuite.
It’s a system that’s similar to PillPack‘s set-up but allows me to package my pills myself.
I figured since it was reasonable in cost (less than $50 shipped) it was worth trying, especially for future use if I have to travel. I can also use it to keep a week’s worth of meds in my purse if I want after I list (just in case) without it adding a lot of bulk.
I can just throw the packets in my handbag or overnight bag & call it good.
Yet, when I tried it out, I decided it could come in handy for every day use as I sometimes found myself trying to remember which bottles I had opened or not while taking my pills before my morning coffee.
I was able to decrease the clutter in my medicine holder container as a result. All I have out is my magnesium (powder), my Emergen-C packs, & my inhalers & these packs.
The rest of my bottles of vitamins & medication bottles I put away in a drawer. One week’s worth of medicine packets I keep in a small organizer, the other I keep out to replace after I take one out. Or to keep at the ready if I have to grab & go where I need to take them with me (like doctor appointment days).
As for my magnesium powder, I did make a few packets of that but I found those were a bit more time consuming to make & bit trickier to manage. It’s nice to have if I absolutely need it, but I don’t think I will utilize it daily.
This isn’t a “smart” system. By that I mean a phone connected or digital device, but it is smartly made.
It utilizes 4 AA batteries for the sealer. The other components are the bags (which are biodegradable) & a dispenser which looks funky at first but is very easy to use.
There are videos on the Pillsuite site that explain how it works, but also it comes with a very great set of instructions that are easy to follow. (The hardest time I had was loading the batteries into the sealer the correct way, but that’s just me.)
I’ve included some pictures so as I used it, it would be fairly easy to see in action. The first picture is essentially the unboxing. The box is sturdy & works great for storage in case you would have to transport it somewhere.
The second picture is one of the bags which I labeled with the day of the week and time.
One could probably set it up the same way PillPack does if one wanted. The 3rd photo is the instruction sheet. The 4th is the sealer in action. The 5th photo is is how the dispenser works to load the pills in the bag. (The last two photos are the pictures of the sealer & dispenser).
The process is quick & easy. Simply push the top button down on the sealer, wait for the red light to go out & then take the now sealed packet out. After you load a week’s worth of medicine, you turn the dial to the next opening on the dispenser & it allows the pills to slide out & down into each bag (using the funnel) before sealing.
It its recommended to use a flat surface. I was lazy & just did it on my lap (as far as dispensing the medication) which worked out most of the time as long as I was careful. A flat surface is definitely easier if one’s balance or coordination isn’t the best. It doesn’t take a whole lot of coordination to use, but I did find a few times I didn’t have things angled quite right.) The sealer does need the flat surface for sure though to make sure things are properly aligned & a proper seal.
It’s not a foolproof system but close to it.
If you place the bag too far in it won’t seal properly. If you don’t make sure the corners are as close to closed before you load it into the sealer sometimes there may be a few gaps in the seal. But after a try or two, it’s very easy to figure out & adjust to get it right.
There were a few times if I was worried I didn’t get a good seal on the first try, I just re-did it. The sealing process is very fast. It’s not time-consuming at all.
The only time-consuming part is parsing out the pills into the dispenser. I did 4 rounds because I found that was what was easiest for me. All my morning in a 7-day batch (then repeated for another week), then a second 7-day batch for my evening medicine (repeated again for another week).
Powders are a bit tricker, messier, & time consuming, but they can be done. I really think this system does work extremely well for vitamins & regular medicines.
Since this isn’t a connected device & doesn’t come with a medicine management app, I would suggest that transplant friends who might be interested in using this system download the Transplant Hero app. This app allows for custom reminders to be set for several medications at once. It was a designed by a transplant doctor for transplant patients. (See this link to Monday’s blog post for more information on the app.)
(DISCLAIMER: I was not paid by this company or sent a free product. I ordered it on my own from the company after doing an internet search for a related product. I thought doing a review of this product might be a useful way to share information with others who might be interested or needing something like this to manage their own medications. This analysis in no way constitutes medical advice or product endorsement. I try to keep products I select for personal use, profiling, & reviewing in an affordable price range. Often $50 or less where possible. If they are more expensive I make that clear & try to point out their practicality & uniqueness in assisting me with my personal health tracking.)