Multiple myeloma medications are commonly taken orally and require additional supportive medication to combat adverse effects. They are also taken according to complex schedules, which makes medication adherence a frequent problem. In a study published in JMIR Cancer, researchers assessed potential barriers to medication adherence and gauged patient interest in sensored medication devices (SMDs).

Sensored medication devices utilize technology to capture patient behaviors related to medication taking and aid in mitigating future missed doses. SMDs range in complexity; its simple version is a modified cap or lid that fit onto traditional medication bottles. They are equipped with an alarm feature, such as a sound or a light that can be programmed to specific times according to the medication regimen. Some also record the date and time of cap removal, whereas more advanced SMDs also send reminder text messages and phone calls to patients and providers. 

Participants were mostly African American (80%), and a total of 20 participants had a mean age of 56. The majority of the patients reported being comfortable using the internet, text messaging, and using cell phone apps. Patients were interviewed about their current medication use, attitudes, medication adherence, and opinions on barriers and facilitators to medication adherence. The participants took an average of 13 medications. Fourteen reported missed doses for a variety of reasons, including fatigue, illness, busy schedule, forgetting, or side effects.

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Participants were shown two different SMD bottles and subsequently asked about their reactions to the device. Patient reactions ranged from complete lack of interest to great interest. Some reported concerns about SMDs were privacy issues, additional costs, and the large size of the bottle. Regardless, 60% of patients were interested in possibly using the device. The study authors are planning a future feasibility trial.


Asfaw AA, Yan CH, Sweiss K, et al. Barriers and facilitators of using sensored medication adherence devices in a diverse sample of patients with multiple myeloma: qualitative study. JMIR Cancer 2018;4(2).