Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Terrible Packaging for Rescue Medications

Has this ever happened to you? 

You wake up in the morning with a terrible migraine. You feel so awful; the light, the movement, the nausea, the excruciating pain! You stumble out of bed to retrieve your rescue medication. You get your hands on the press pack of pills and then you find yourself in a fight with with the packaging to actually get to the pill. A fight that you are in no shape to have.

Why are these pills so painfully hard to liberate from their packaging?

For many months Optum Rx was sending my rescue medication from NorthStarx

This long press pack would arrive and it was both difficult to separate the individual pill square and difficult to then open the square and retrieve the dose. In an effort to make things easier on myself I started separating the individual doses as soon as the box arrived. 

Then I learned that most of the time when peeling the back off, the paper would separate from the foil and then I could use my fingernail to break into the foil and get my pill. I started putting effort into making sure the paper was the only part to peel off and then leaving a dose on my bedside table and one on the table next to the couch. But, as you can see in the picture above, that didn't always work. Sometimes the foil would stick to the paper and the pill would be exposed.

This last time, Optum Rx sent my triptan from Dr. Reddy's. This is actually my favorite manufacturer of Sumatriptan, but that's a whole different post. You can see the individual pill square in the picture above actually has a scissor icon and a dotted line because the only way to get at these pills is to use scissors. 

This package was clearly not designed by someone who has ever had a migraine. As hard and frustrating as it has always been to get at these pills, it has never been harder and more frustrating than with these. Now, not only do I have to keep my pills nearby, but now I also have to have a pair of scissors with me?!?!? Are you kidding!! 

I like to keep my pills stashed in places I might need them - by the bed, by the couch, in my purse, in an emergency kit. But now I'm going to need to have scissors in all of these places too. Not cool.

I totally get that manufacturers want to keep the pills fresh. I want that too. The press packs being used for my dog's heart worm medication and flea/tick medication are never hard to get into. They separate from each other with no problem and they open with no problem. Why can't our rescue medications be as user friendly? It's hard enough to be suffering with a migraine without the additional hassle of accessing our medication.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness! What a nightmare. I was trying to get into one of my Zofran ODT the other day, and I broke down in tears trying to get into it... and it wasn't nearly as protected as your pills are.

    I've used triptans in the past that are horribly difficult to get into. I currently use Relpax, but the paper easily separates from the foil and you can use your nail to get the pill out. Now, sometimes I still need help in the midst of pain, but it's more often out of lack of coordination and fear of losing the pill.

    There's no reason that a pill for migraine should require scissors to get into! What if you're not at home? You can't carry scissors with you everywhere you go (like an airplane). They're not a controlled substance (though, ironically, those usually come as just a bunch of pills in a bottle), so what's with the third degree packaging?!