[iOS] Help identify the name of an unknown medicine with Pill Finder

mzl.auonwyvh.320x480-75If you take a lot of prescription drugs or supplements, you may have a hard time keeping track of them. Sure, some of them are distinctive, but others look similar to multiple types of medicine. In addition, it can be hard to remember how often to take a pill, and at what dosage. Whether you are juggling your own cocktail of prescription drugs due to illness, or just looking to provide support to a family member who takes a lot of prescription pills, the simple app Pill Finder may be quite useful to you.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Pill Finder is an app used to help a person identify “mystery pills.” If you have a leftover pill in your “days of the week” pill container or tucked into the bottom of your luggage after your trip, this app can help you to visually identify the medication…ensuring that you take the medication as directed.

Pros

  • Runs on the National Library of Medicine’s Pillbox API
  • Narrow down the identity of a pill by inputting the pill’s color, shape, score marks, size (relative to a dime coin), or “imprint” (the text on the pill itself)
  • Provides drug information in case you’ve lost your copy

Cons

  • Hasn’t been updated since 2011
  • May seem unnecessary to some people: couldn’t you just compare the “mystery pill” with the pills in the prescription bottle?
  • Doesn’t seem to support “imprint” searches where part of the imprint text has been rubbed away or is illegible
  • Given the fact that a lot of people who juggle multiple medications are senior citizens, this app could do a lot more to offer users magnified text for the visually impaired
  • Doesn’t support the most obvious form of visual identification: photos! It would be nice to be able to take a pic with your phone and match it to a pill in the database
  • Doesn’t really let you browse pills
  • Multiple users have reported “no pills found” error when using the app, which is quite frustrating
  • App hasn’t been updated since its initial release
  • No added functionality related to pills, such as a pill timer

Discussion

mzl.cyummuia.320x480-75Pill Finder seemed like such a cool idea, and I could see it being a really helpful tool for senior citizens, the visually impaired, or anyone who just has to take a lot of pills. We’ve all been in situations (especially when traveling) where pills have gotten mixed up.

In a perfect world, this app would let you take a picture of the mystery pill, give you some possible matches, and allow you to refine your results with the shape/size/imprint data you input. You could then set up pill reminders on your phone so you don’t miss a dose.

This app was buggy for me, frequently returning no results whatsoever. The interface is decent, but it could be made more user-friendly. Seeing as the app hasn’t been updated in years, I’m guessing the developers don’t have plans to make this app be all that it could be. That’s a shame. I really wanted to like this one.

Conclusion and download link

Pill Finder was a total disappointment for me. I had high expectations going in, and this app simply did not rise to the challenge. A really great idea, but not executed well. Give this app a skip until it’s been updated.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.0

Supported OS: Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Download size: 0.8 MB

Pill Finder on Apple App Store

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