The blister packs of drugs for people with Alzheimer’s disease will, from summer 2016, be marked with days of the week in order to reduce confusion when patients take their medicine, the UK medicines safety regulator has announced.
The move by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the pharmaceutical industry also aims to help these patients maintain their independence as well as improve adherence to their medicines.
The new packs are expected to be on the market in June 2016.
George McNamara, head of policy at the patient’s charity the Alzheimer’s Society, welcomed the announcement, made on 3 November 2015. “Medication packaging can be confusing for people with dementia,” he says. “Simple modifications, such as indicating the days of the week or making the font clearer to read, can have huge implications for both the independence and the safety of people living with dementia.”
He says 75% of patients with dementia also have other long-term conditions and he called on other drug companies to introduce dementia-friendly packaging.
Deputy director of the MHRA’s vigilance and risk management of medicines division Sarah Branch adds: “The MHRA has listened to the concerns of patients and will tailor the way in which the medicines we authorise are presented to the market to better meet their needs.”
Life sciences minister George Freeman says the move reflects the prime minister’s 2020 dementia challenge to make the UK a world leader in care for people with dementia and to be the global leader in dementia research.