Choosing the best medication app in 2023

Published on February 16th 2023.
Written by Jenna Farmer.

Whether you’re starting a new prescription or are juggling a bunch of different medication types, finding the best pill app can make life just that little bit easier to manage. With 131 million Americans taking at least one medication, many of us with chronic conditions are used to taking several. In fact, the average person takes four different types of medications. Add to that the brain fog which often comes with chronic conditions, is it any wonder we turn to technology to help us manage them all? Whether you’re looking for a simple system to remind you to take your meds or deeper insights into how the multiple medications you take could impact your health, here’s how to choose the best pill app for you.

Photo by Altin Ferreira on Unsplash

What are the different types of medication apps?

In their simplest forms, there are types of medication apps that just work in reminding you to take your medication that day. These notification apps are really handy if you often forget to take your pills or are juggling multiple medications. Some of these can also alert you if you’re running low on supplies, with others doubling as prescription request apps. These apps allow you to easily order or request repeat medication when you’re low on stock.

Other apps allow you to delve more into the medication you’re taking. All-in-one medication management apps come with clever insights to help you understand how your medication is impacting your symptoms. They allow you to track improvement, side effects and, if you’re taking more than one type of pill, any potential contradictions too. These all-in-one medical management apps allow you to share your findings with your doctor.

What should I look for in a medication app?

There are several things to consider when looking for a medication app to download. The first is to look for an app that offers flexibility and customisation. Whilst you might be looking to just track one pill right now, things may change in the future. This means looking for a pill app that tracks several medications simultaneously is best. Look for an app where you can add custom symptoms and side effects rather than opting from a restricted list. After all, our bodies all respond differently despite what the tiny leaflet in your medication box says.

Another thing to look for is shareability. You might choose to share the app with your carer or loved one who may be in charge of administering your medication. Or you may want to share information with your doctor so they can alter your dose going forward. 

Finally, look for an app that allows you some insight into the medication you’re taking. So after our doctor asks us: ‘is this medication working?’ or ‘have you noticed this particular side effect?’ you’ll be more equipped if you choose an app that allows you insight into your pills. Some apps allow you to track other factors around your medication, such as if a particular symptom improves after taking it. This can be very useful in tracking your pills.

Privacy & Security.
Firstly, let’s talk about privacy. If you’re thinking of using a symptom-tracking app, you want to make sure that your data is as private and secure as possible. 

Both the Apple App Store and Android Play Store make it easy to review the measures taken by an app to keep your data private and secure. These measures include an explanation of:

    • What data is being collected
    • What data is being shared
    • Why this data is being collected
    • Whether collecting the data is optional
    • The security practices of the App

Some important things to look out for are:

    • Can your data be deleted?
    • How much Personally Identifiable Data (PII) is being collected and for what reason?
    • Is your data encrypted?

If you’re unsure about the privacy and security of your health data it could also be helpful to read the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy or you could even contact the developers directly. 

Note. If you live in the US and are concerned about details of your reproductive health being shared with law enforcement officials, you can look for apps that are based outside of the US and that fall outside of the jurisdiction of the US legal system.

One of the best ways to determine which medication app is right for you is to read other people’s testimonials. Specifically looking for reviews written by people with your health condition(s) can help you figure out if it’s right for you.

You can also look for information about whether the pill tracker has been clinically reviewed or tested in an empirical study. 

Insights & Reports.
One of the unique benefits of digital medication tracking, many of the options can help you to identify…

    • Medication and symptom trends so you can understand how medication may cause any side effects.

    • Correlations between your medication and improvement in symptoms to help you figure out if a medication is working or not.

    • How a specific medication may be impacting your overall mood score.

    • How a change of medication may change your symptoms, along with other insights like your overall mood, sleep and energy.

If you’re seeking a symptom tracker to help you with managing your symptoms or if you’re in the process of obtaining a diagnosis, these types of insights can be especially helpful.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to have more control over your symptoms or a clearer understanding of why and when they occur, symptom trackers with reporting features may be the right option for you.

How to choose the right medication app for me?

Choosing the right medication app really depends on your biggest problems. If you keep forgetting to take your medication, you need to opt for an apt that sends regular reminders and allows you to log when you’ve taken it. If you often run out, you may also look for an app that gives you the heads-up for ordering a new script from your doctor.

If you’re wanting to understand the interaction between you and your body better, then you’ll need to choose an app that has the functionality to track the medication you take and your symptoms over a longer period of time. 

Finally, if you plan to share this information with your doctor, look for an app that makes sharing easy.

What are the benefits of medication apps?

The most obvious one is that it encourages you to take your medication more regularly, preventing you from skipping days or running out of medication. It’s estimated over 80% miss a dose of medication occasionally so using a pill app with regular notification reminders can stop this from turning into a more regular thing. Research found that patients with coronary heart disease who used medication reminder apps were more likely to adhere to their medication compared to those who didn’t. A lot of medication apps also allow you to record when you’ve taken your pills, avoiding those ‘did I or didn’t I?’ questions that keep you up late at night.

For those with chronic illnesses, finding a medication that works and causes minimal side effects can sometimes feel like stumbling around in the dark. 

Proactively using an app that allows you to better understand the medication you’re taking and symptom changes can help your doctor refine these choices further and ultimately help you feel better. This can sometimes be a simple switch. For example, if you use a pain app and realise your pills are what’s causing new digestive issues, your doctor may advise you to take them only with food or at a different time of day. If you track your pain level and medication over a longer period of time and realise it’s getting worse, your doctor will know this pill isn’t working, so they can increase the dose or try an alternative. You may choose to track this over a set period of time, for example in the Bearable app you can track the impact of your medication for different time periods, such as over two days or three days or over a calendar month.

Unfortunately, many of the medications we take do come with side effects and it’s all about balancing these with their numerous benefits in making us feel well. Using a medication app helps us understand more about this balance.

When do medical professionals recommend using a medication app?

Many medical professionals recommend patients use medication apps. “Poor medication compliance or non-compliance is a major sticking point for patients and clinicians, which is why I recommend using medication apps to manage complicated medication routines or to send timely reminders when it is vital for a patient to take an antibiotic, for example, on a strict regime.” says Doctor Dr Noreen and Nguru, of What the Doctor Reccomends.

“Rather than relying on memory alone is not advisable because of the risk of accidental overdose from ‘double dosing’. I also find that for the elderly and vulnerable patients with conditions affecting memory or motivation, the use of a medication app can be rewarding as some apps also allow the tracking of symptoms, side effects and personalisation features,” she adds.

What do users want from a medication app?

Most patients look for an app that will help with the stress of remembering to take their medication. Patients who use an app for their medication are more likely to take it on time. Therefore, an app that comes with easy-to-follow medication notifications is on top of most patients’ lists.

“With so much on the go in my life, it’s all too easy to forget to take my pills. Without reminders popping up on my phone, I could easily go all day and not think about my pills. Having an app with reminders helps me stick to my routine and my health benefits as a result,” says Laura Jean who blogs about life with Rheumatoid Arthritis at RA Life Hacks.

For others, having a pill app that allows you to input every time you’ve taken your meds is a great idea. “I’d forget to take my epilepsy medication without reminders. I look for an app that will keep reminding me. For example, if my app goes off at 9am and I’m busy, it’ll go off again later. I can always snooze, which allows me to get home to get medication, when the alarm will restart.” says Annie from Tales of Annie Bean.

Some look for a medication app that has detailed tracking functions. “I’ve been using medication reminder apps for twelve years. I use an app that not only reminds me to take my meds but tracks my taking them which can be printed out for doctor visits. I also track pain levels and health notes. It backs up online so I never lose that information,” says Mandy Farmer who blogs over at Mandy and Michele.


Here’s a quick summary of the main factors that we think you should consider when choosing a medication app in 2023.

    • Shareability. if you plan to share this information with your family, carers or doctors, do make sure your app allows you to do this super easily.

    • Customisation. Not everyone’s journey is the same so look for an app that allows you to customise things like symptoms and duration.

    • Analytics. Not everyone will want advanced tracking but looking for an app that allows you insights into medication.

    • Reminders. To help you remember when to take each of your medications and potentially also remind you when you need to top up your prescription.

    • Privacy. If you’re concerned about the privacy and security of sensitive, health-related data, then it’s smart to look into the security practices of the apps you’re assessing and the control they give you over your data.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.