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Supervision of Outpatient Drug Therapy with the Medication Monitor

THOMAS MOULDING, M.D., F.A.C.P.; G. DAVID ONSTAD, M.D.; and JOHN A. SBARBARO, M.D.
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The development of the medication monitor was supported in part by grant RES-7a-16, National Tuberculosis Association, New York, N. Y.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Thomas Moulding, M.D., National Jewish Hospital, 3800 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, Colo. 80206


Denver, Colorado


Ann Intern Med. 1970;73(4):559-564. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-73-4-559
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The medication monitor is a calendar-marked medication dispenser that includes radioactive material and photographic film to record the regularity with which medication packets are removed. The monitor showed that 31% of 122 supposedly reliable tuberculosis outpatients took less than 70% of their medication for 1 or more months. Income above $8,000 per year correlated with better medication consumption but not sufficiently to fully separate reliable from unreliable patients. Nurses and physicians were only partially able to predict the reliability of patients. With the monitor 28% of patients were identified who required special attention to ensure regular drug ingestion. Control of outpatient chemotherapy led to shorter hospitalization that was beneficial to most patients and saved large sums of money. The medication monitor should be useful to study factors that lead to irregular drug ingestion and to measure the effect of irregular drug ingestion when any medication program is being evaluated on an outpatient basis.

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