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Portable Pill Printer

Label pills with name and dosage
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Faced with the challenge of identifying prescription and OTC pills by sight it soon becomes apparent that there is no standard mechanism for labeling medications. To identify an unknown pill one must take into account its size, shape, color, perhaps some arcane manufacturing code. It makes sense (to me) to put the name and dosage of the medicine on the surface of every pill. Certainly I can make the case that labeling would increase patient safety by reducing the likelihood of drug misidentification.

So that this idea is an invention and not a rant, I propose the Portable Pill Printer. The purpose of this device is to allow users to label pills by etching, printing, or burning the appropriate name and dosage on the surface. It would accommodate the different sizes and shapes of commonly sold medicines. The device has an alphanumeric keypad so a user can enter the text to be printed.

The reverse side of the pill could be put to effective use by printing the name of the manufacturer. Perhaps local pharmacies could "brand" the drugs with their logos. Or put the patient's name on it. With the Portable Pill Printer it is now easy to do.

Pernicious Wiles, Mar 26 2004

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       I'm concerned that if the public accepts the labels as true that product tamperers would take advantage. A poisonous substance labeled as "pain releiver" might get past the "my pills never looked like that before" initial reaction and cause someone harm.
I agree that the color/shape/obscure code combinations that pharmacutical companies use don't give you a clue whether your prescription was filled properly. If you have access to a Physicians Desk Reference it does have color pictures for identification, but that's a lot of trouble.
I'd vote for the Personal Portable Pill Printer or the Pill Printing service by the local pharmacy, I think.
RooneDitoff, Mar 26 2004
  

       I never understood why pills come in so many shapes. One standard capsule should do, the type that has two halves that slip together. Material may still vary to release the medication as required.   

       Color of the two halves of the capsule could be chosen for some rough standardized classification. Seven colors of the rainbow, black, white, makes 9 colors. Then two halves give you 9x9=81 combinations. Red/Red could mean "Lethal Poison, take only as prescribed", while White/White means "Placebo, enjoy all you can eat".   

       The capsules would have enough room for some more detailed print.
kbecker, Mar 26 2004
  

       maybe just print the label on the bottle? Are there lots of people taking pills out of their normal container usually??
sirching, Mar 26 2004
  

       // Are there lots of people taking pills out of their normal container usually?? // [sirching]   

       In the hospital you pretty much swallow what they give you. Mistakes are made every day.   

       "Nurse? Should I really be taking Viagra? I'm pregnant."
Pernicious Wiles, Mar 26 2004
  

       the tampering issue would worry me too. you would need excellent eyesight to read all that stuff on one pill though.
po, Mar 27 2004
  

       Since all pills come in a unique combination of shapes, colors, and markings, what about a scanner that double checks what the nurse is dispensing and checks it against the patients required meds to prevent mistakes. I wouldn't want a nurse with bad eyesight trying to read tiny pills. The nurse could enter the patient number in the computer and then place the pills in a small cup under the scanner. The machine will then scan the pills and display a warning if it doesn't match what the patient is suppose to be getting.
Nitehawk, Mar 27 2004
  

       //I never understood why pills come in so many shapes//
It is intentional, to allow folks who have to take two or more medications at once a chance to be able to distinguish one from the other on sight.
krelnik, Mar 27 2004
  
      
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