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Taking your medications exactly when your body needs them is vital. But sometimes, you just forget. And you’re not alone.
In a 2017 high-level study involving 1,198 adults, participants were found to have medication delays 80–85% of the time and to have forgotten medication 44–46% of the time.
Thankfully, there are medication reminder products and services that can add ease and simplicity to your medication regimen. Some are tangible, and some are apps, but they share a common goal — making sure you remember your medications. That includes reminders about when to take time, when to reorder, or what to take.
Did you know?
A 2017 study found that adults were much more likely to take their medication, and to take it on time, after receiving daily text message reminders. Over 2 weeks, the percentage of people who forgot their medications dropped from 46% to 5%. The percentage who had medication delays dropped from 85% to 18%.
Another study in 2019 found that patients using medication reminder apps have better medication adherence after 3 months than those who didn’t use these apps.
After some research, we’ve rounded up seven of the best medication reminders on the market.
- Best medication timer: TabTime Timer
- Best medication reminder for single medications: e-pill TimeCap and Bottle
- Best service for pre-dosing multiple medications: PillPack
- Best medication reminder for caregivers: MedMinder
- Best medication reminder app: Medisafe
- Best medication reminder and pill dispenser: Hero
Finding the right medication reminder for your needs can take a little research. In compiling our list, we looked for various medication reminders and prioritized price, features, functionality, and customer reviews.
- Price: We included medication reminders to fit different budgets.
- Features: We looked for products that serve different needs, varying from simple reminder tools to full service pharmacy needs.
- Functionality: Medication reminders are supposed to make life easier, so we prioritized products that aren’t overly complicated.
- Customer reviews: We looked carefully at reviews to see what real customers have to say about these tools.
- Internal vetting: Every product on our list was vetted for brand integrity and safety. Read more about our vetting process for additional information.
We’ve included general price ranges below. Prices vary, but keep in mind that where you shop and available discounts will impact the final price.
Some of the medication reminders on our list have a monthly fee, which we’ve indicated where applicable.
- $ = under $30
- $$ = $30–$70
- $$$ =over $70
Best medication timer
- What it is: handheld timer
- How it works: set the timer with up to eight independent alarms for daily reminders about specific medications
- Price: $
If general forgetfulness is the reason you have problems adhering to your med timetable, you may want to try this simple timer from TabTime.
It has eight different alarms you can program to beep when it’s time to take your medication. Just 1 inch high and just over 3 in. in diameter, it fits easily into a jacket pocket, purse, or backpack. That makes it particularly helpful when you’re traveling, on-the-go, and out of your typical routine at home.
It’s also magnetic and has a small foldable stand attached.
- portable for on-the-go reminders
- easy to set up and includes up to eight independent alarms for different reminders
- well reviewed
- scheduled alarm settings can’t be individually deleted
- no associated pharmacy service
Best medication reminder for single medications
- What it is: a pill bottle that has a timer built into the bottle cap
- How it works: set the timer on the cap and screw it onto the included bottle or your own pill bottle for daily reminders
- Price: $$
If you like your reminders analog and you only need to take one (or just a couple) medications a day (such as antibiotics), this medication bottle with a reminder timer built into the cap might be a good option for you.
The TimeCap easily affixes to the top of your typical pill bottle. You can also use the pill bottle that’s provided with your purchase.
After you take your pill, fix the TimeCap back onto your pill bottle. The display will automatically show the time and date you last opened to remind you when you last took your medication.
You can set a single daily alarm, or as many as 24 daily alarms. Alarms can only be set on the hour.
- sets up to 24 daily alarms
- includes a missed dose indicator
- works with an included pill bottle and most medication bottles
- affixes to a single bottle, so it only works for one medication
- no associated pharmacy service
Best service for pre-dosing multiple medications
- What it is: online pharmacy service
- How it works: set up an account to have pre-dosed medications shipped automatically
- Price: shipping is free; you cover the cost of your specific medications
If you want the dosing done for you and to not even have to go to the pharmacy, PillPack offers that and more.
When you sign up for this online pharmacy, you transfer over your medications and set up a start date. Next thing you know, dosed-out medications arrive at your doorstep every month, in plastic packages strung together on a roll. It can essentially take the place of a pill organizer, arriving already sorted, so you don’t have to sort doses yourself.
PillPack will even contact your doctor to confirm your medication schedule and handle your prescription refills. All you have to do is pay attention to the time and date printed on each individual package.
- free service, minus the cost of your medications
- medications are pre-dosed and packaged individually on a roll for convenience
- includes prescription refills
- doesn’t include a daily medication reminder
Best medication reminder for caregivers
- What it is: pill dispenser, as well as online and in-person pharmacy services
- How it works: fill the dispenser with daily medications and receive reminders and alerts when it’s time to dose; the device can be personalized with custom greetings, family photos, and daily weather updates
- Price: $$$ (billed monthly)
If you want visual reminders as well as alerts by phone, then MedMinder might pique your interest.
This pill dispenser holds four daily doses of medication for a full month. It also doles out digital reminders — lights, beeps, and phone calls — with its own cellular connections, which means it doesn’t need to be linked to a phone line or the internet.
MedMinder has certain features that make it ideal for caregivers who are helping others manage their medication schedules. For instance, caregivers will also receive an email, text alert, or phone call if a dose is missed. Weekly summary reports are available as well.
Individual pill compartments can be locked until a medication needs to be taken. This helps prevent users from taking the wrong medication. Locks are also an important safety feature if young children are around.
MedMinder has its own emergency call center, too. Should you need immediate medical assistance, you can connect with personnel by pressing a button on a special pendant necklace or watch.
MedMinder also offers pharmacy services, similar to PillPack. In addition to online pharmacy services, MedMinder has brick-and-mortar locations in Brooklyn, New York and the Boston, Massachusetts area.
The MedMinder pill dispenser has a monthly service charge of $75 with a 3-year commitment. There’s no additional cost for the pharmacy services. You cover the cost of your medications. You can also use the MedMinder pharmacy without renting the pill dispenser.
You can shop the pill dispenser using the button below, or learn more about the pharmacy here.
- keeps medication safely compartmentalized
- includes multiple digital reminders
- updates caregivers about missed doses
- high monthly price point and long commitment window
Best medication reminder app
- What it is: app and online pharmacy services
- How it works: download the smartphone app and add your medications, including dosages and schedules, to receive digital reminders
- Price: $-$$ (depending on subscription level)
The Medisafe medication reminder is a straightforward smartphone app. You record when you take your medications and receive medication reminders.
You can use Medisafe to help manage numerous people’s medication regimens, thanks to the option of multiple profiles. It also tracks prescriptions and reminds you when it’s time for a refill.
With the Medfriend feature, you even have the option of syncing your app to a friend’s or a family member’s. If you miss a dosage (and don’t respond to several alerts), your Medfriend will also receive push notifications.
The Medisafe app has received 4.7 and 4.6 stars, respectively, on the iOS and Android app stores. It’s available in over 15 languages, including Arabic, German, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish.
Additional features include health tracking, such as weight, blood pressure, or glucose levels. If you’re in the United States, it can warn you about possible drug interactions. The premium version of the app includes an unlimited number of Medfriends and the ability to track additional health measurements (over 25 types of metrics).
The standard Medisafe app is free for iOS and Android. The premium app is available on iOS and Android for $4.99 monthly or $39.99 yearly.
- the Medfriend feature adds an additional layer of security
- allows you to also track other health information
- can have multiple profiles to manage the whole family’s medication doses and schedules
- users in the U.S. get updates on potential drug interactions
- some features are only available with a paid subscription
Best medication reminder and pill dispenser
- What it is: pill dispenser with medication reminders
- How it works: connects to Wi-Fi, signals when it’s time to take your meds, and dispenses preset doses
- Price: $$-$$$ (depends on subscription level)
The smart dispenser from Hero works with an accompanying app to safely dispense the exact dose when it’s time to take your medication. The dispenser, about the size of a coffee maker, holds up to a 90-day supply of up to 10 medications in any pill size and shape. That means no more messy pill bottles cluttering up the counter.
Once you download the smartphone app and add your medications, you’ll receive pill-time reminders and missed-dose alerts. The app is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and will also track what you take and when. It also includes remote caregiving monitoring for safety.
When it’s time for your medicine, the Hero dispenser will light up and chime. Just press the button to dispense your dose.
Caregivers can enable extra safety settings on the smart dispenser and app to limit how much medication can be dispensed. In the event of a power failure, each Hero dispenser has a safety key that can be used to open the device manually.
The Hero dispenser is about $45 per month with a 12-month commitment, plus a $100 one-time initiation fee. The company also offers a 12- and 24-month payment plan, which has to be paid in full upfront. There is a 90-day, risk-free trial period.
- smart, simple design eliminates clutter
- keeps caregivers notified of missed doses
- excellent reviews
- free trial period
- high price point
Is there an app to remind you to take medication?
Yes, there are apps for both iOS and Android designed to remind you about medications. In addition to our top picks, Medisafe and CareZone, Round Health has 4.5 stars with over 13,000 ratings at the iOS App Store.
Apple Watch also has a Medications app that can track your medications and send reminders. You can also set regular reminders through Siri on Apple devices or through Google Assistant on Android devices. Dosecast is another free and well-reviewed app that works on Android and iOS devices.
What are smart pill bottles?
Smart pill bottles use technology to track when a bottle is opened. Features vary, but many smart pill bottles can also notify when it’s time for a dose, mark it as “taken,” and send missed-dose reminders.
Are medication reminders covered by medicare?
At this time, Medicare does not cover medication reminders. That includes services, dispensers, or anything else related to the management of medication.
Are medication reminders FSA- or HSA-eligible?
Yes, medication reminders such as pill dispensers and clocks are eligible for reimbursement if you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA).
Taking your medication should be as easy and automatic as possible, not yet another thing you need to add to your mental checklist.
Whether it’s making sure you don’t forget your medication or don’t accidentally take two doses, these products and services go way beyond your parents’ pillboxes.