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What is a Pillbox?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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A pillbox is a medicine holder for tablets or capsules. The tablet or capsule pills may be prescription medications or vitamins. Most pillboxes are rectangular in shape and made from plastic. These containers offer an inexpensive way for people to organize and remember to take their pills.

The smallest type of plastic pillbox has only one compartment and is made to hold a day's worth, or one dose, of medication or vitamins. The type of rectangular box with seven compartments is popular; it has one section or compartment for each day of the week. Each weekday name, or first letter, is imprinted on the compartment's lid. When the last day of the week is reached, and all the tablets or capsules have been taken, the pillbox is ready to be refilled for the next seven days.

A seven day, rectangular plastic type of holder for pills may be a part of a larger system. Some medicine container systems feature a flat, plastic board with tabs that allow separate pillboxes to be removed and replaced. To be exact, eight weekly pillboxes could fit onto the board. If the person taking the medication was going to travel away from home for less than a week, he or she could detach one weekly pillbox from the board. Medicine pill container board systems that hold a few months of tablets or pills allow for less frequent filling than the daily or weekly types.

Plastic pillboxes are available in many different colors, such as clear, blue, yellow, pink and green. The main reason for using different colors of pillbox in a household shouldn't be for aesthetics, or looks, but rather for easily identifying each spouse's or family member's medications. Colored containers of pills can look especially appealing to children, so it's extremely important that pillboxes are stored out of their reach in a secure cabinet or other area that can't be accessed. The opening and closing section of pill box compartments are made to be easy to open; this makes them even more of a danger to children. Whereas pill bottles are usually designed to have child-lock tops that must be pressed and turned in a certain way, pillboxes are simple to open.

Besides the common plastic version, there are fancier pillbox models that have alarms. The alarms are meant to be set for times that patients are to take the medicines stored in the pillbox. Some alarm pillboxes also have a vibrating feature to further remind a patient to take his or her tablet or capsule medications on time.

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