Anti-HIV drug regimens can be very complicated. This study will evaluate a new electronic
pillbox designed to help people take their anti-HIV drugs correctly.
Recent advances in antiretroviral therapy have allowed for almost complete inhibition of
viral replication in HIV-infected individuals. Unfortunately, the ability of the virus to
rapidly mutate and become resistant to treatments necessitates the administration of
multiple medications, in complex dosing schedules, to maintain viral suppression. Although
adherence to these complicated treatment regimens is paramount, even the most vigilant
persons often have difficulty maintaining these protocols for extended periods of time.
MedSignals™ is an electronic device that was designed to improve medication compliance among
HIV patients. It allows convenient storage and transport of antiretroviral medications and
functions as an aid to compliance by incorporating reminding alarms at dosing times and
usage reporting functions. The system alarms at pill times, records pill-taking,
communicates usage data to servers, and displays progress charts on personalized web pages.
Four separately-controlled compartments are easily set for number of dosings per day and
number of pills at each dosing. Thereafter, all alarms are relative to last lid openings,
assuring intake is optimally spaced. Additional menu options can be set to advise when lids
are opened, such as "take with food." Lid openings are time-stamped in memory. The cradle
is permanently plugged into telephone and electrical lines for uploading of data and
recharging, but the pillbox is portable and pocket-sized. Every day, sensors detect a phone
line and upload usage data to servers, allowing authorized caregivers or the patient to
observe compliance records. This trial will evaluate MedSignals' usability and
functionality in increasing medication compliance in people infected with HIV.
Participants will be randomly assigned to one of three study groups; each group will contain
25 participants. One group will use MedSignals with all of its features, one group will use
MedSignals with only alarm features, and the final group will not use any device.
Participants will have 4 study visits over 9 weeks and one follow-up telephone call after 6
months. Assessments will include demographic and usability questionnaires.
- HIV-infected for at least six months prior to study entry
- Currently taking at least one and not more than four antiretroviral medications (not
including medications for prophylaxis or unrelated disorders)
- Understand the benefits of antiviral medications in reducing viral load, boosting
immune response, and preventing opportunistic infections
- Desire to take all antiretroviral medication as scheduled
- Working telephone
- Good mental health
- Require assistance dispensing or taking medications
- Require full or part time assistance with the activities of daily living
- Does not intend to take all anti-HIV medication over the course of the study