OTC drug interaction analyzer for smartphones

Medilyzer is a smartphone application designed to provide mobile information and drug interaction checking for various over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The application is available for both the iPhone and Android smartphones, and according to the Medilyzer website a BlackBerry edition is on its way.

iPhone version

Created with consumers in mind, the iPhone application delivers information about OTC products using the barcode located on the medication package. Users simply type in the numbers on the barcode and receive a picture of the medication along with important drug facts.

By simply touching the picture of the medication, a screen will appear where users can view the medicine’s active ingredients, warning, dosage information, and comparable generic products.

To compare multiple medications users can touch “Check Interaction” located on the main screen. A green check means the OTC medications are ok to take at the same time; a red stop sign means you should not take the medications together and consult with a pharmacist.

Android OS version

The Medilyzer Android Application is very intuitive and easily navigated. To enter anOTC medication, simply touch the “Scan Medication” button. This button activates the camera and the barcode is captured using an easy point and shoot method.

When the product barcode correctly appears in the window, the phone will blink green then display the name of the scanned medication. Users can view information such as product warnings and comparable generic products.

To check OTC drug interactions simply touch “Scan Medication” once more to learn if two OTC can be taken at the same time.

I find it interesting that you can scan the bar code image on the Android version of the software, but have to manually enter the UPC code on the iPhone. I wonder if it has anything to do with the quality of the cameras on the devices or if it is an issue with actual operating system? Anyway, I loaded both my DROID and iPhone with Medilyzer and took it for a test run.

The Android version had difficulty scanning bar codes on any surface other than the flat side of a box. In other words I couldn’t get it to scan bar codes on bottles. When it did pick up the bar code image the software worked as advertised. On the iPhone everything went smoothly. The only issue I have with the iPhone version is the need to manually enter the UPC.

In theory Medilyzer is a great application and has tremendous potential for consumer safety, but I can’t recommend it for Android devices because of the extreme difficulty I had getting a clean scan off surfaces that weren’t completely smooth and flat. The iPhone version works fine if you don’t mind entering the UPC code by hand.

4 thoughts on “OTC drug interaction analyzer for smartphones”

  1. Taking a picture with the iPhone could be the issue. The 3G doesn’t auto focus, the 3Gs does. So it may be more than just the camera. There’s a open source barcode library called zxing. It began life on Android, but since migrated to other platforms.

    Who knows. Most likely the camera focusing issue is what’s holding them back, and they don’t want to pay the license cost for a commercial quality solution.

  2. I was unaware that the 3G did not auto focus. Thanks for the tidbit. There was discussion at the ASHP Summer Meeting about vendors moving toward using smartphone cameras in their scanners due to the low cost. Apparently the camera technology in smartphones is moving faster than scanner technology at the moment. I find that interesting. We’re headed toward a ubiquitous device rather quickly.

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