Now, What Meds Are You Taking Again? Pill Identification Apps

By ThriveAP Intern and BSN in Progress Olivia DeFilippo

Countless times I have peered into my medicine cabinet in search of my allergy medication finding pills that have fallen out of the packaging. “I think that tablet looks like my allergy medicine” I say to myself…”But should I risk it?”.

Obviously, the correct answer to my question in “no!”. I shouldn’t risk my heath by taking medication I am unsure of. Luckily, thanks to new apps, you don’t have to wonder about the identity of stray pills any longer. 

These apps are helpful not only at home, but in the clinic and hospital setting as well. In overdose situations, for example, providers may not know what medications the patient has ingested. The patient may present with pills but not the bottles themselves. Patients who store their medications in weekly or monthly organizational boxes may also forget which pill is which as they have been removed from their original packaging. When doses change, they are unable to adjust the rest of their medications for a period of time because the necessary pills can’t be identified. Fortunately, there’s an app for that!

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Here are a few helpful medication identification apps nurses and nurse practitioners can use not only for their own health but also in assisting patients. 

ID My Pill

More than 800,000 injuries and deaths occur each year from taking the wrong pill. ID My Pill hopes to change that. With this handy app, which costs just $4.99, you can identify a medication by simply snapping a photo. You must print out a piece of paper to use as the background for the picture to receive the top 10 most likely matches for your medication. The app identifies over 5,000 of the most common prescriptions pills and updates its drug database weekly. 

MedSnap ID

MedSnap ID is a free app that identifies 4,700 U.S. prescription pills without the requirement of network or cellular data. The app is downloaded and information stored on your phone or tablet. The great thing about MedSnap is that you can take a photo of multiple pills at once and the app will identify them providing information about potentially harmful drug-drug interactions. MedSnap even allows users to activate password protection to prevent prying eyes from accessing recent searches. 

By no means are these apps perfect, and the quality of the picture and lighting in the room can impact search results. However, if you double or even triple check your unidentified medication you can be sure you are putting your health and safety, and that of your patients first. 


You Might Also Like: Writing Prescriptions as a Nurse Practitioner: The FAQ’s


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