Two Mobile Apps May Help Prevent Opioid Overdose and Ensure Proper Dosage



This new smartphone application has the potential to anonymously connect opioid overdose victims with carriers of naloxone (an opioid overdose medication that works in a similar manner to an EpiPen), with the goal of supporting the substance abuse community and those at elevated risk of opioid-induced respiratory depression (ie, those taking prescribed opioids).

How it Works

An option in the app, called Dose Monitor, allows patients taking prescribed opioids to set a timer for 10, 20, 30, or up to 60-minute intervals, for example, immediately after they take a dose of their medication. When the timer reaches two minutes, the patient will be notified to turn off the timer, essentially providing a failsafe to ensure he/she is OK after taking the medication. If the timer reaches its countdown, without being turned off, it automatically sends alerts of a potential overdose to those who have designated themselves as naloxone carriers within a specific GPS radius. Additionally, if the “Opioid Overdose Emergency” button is activated—presumably by a caregiver or one of the responders, an automated text will be sent to 911, a preprogrammed significant other, and the nearest naloxone carrier.

Potential responders can activate the app’s “available to respond” button in order to receive emergency notifications. (Of note, individuals can become certified “responders” able to administer/carry naloxone through local or county pharmacy-led Good Samaritan programs.)

Once a naloxone carrier answers “Yes” to responding, a map with GPS coordinates opens, along with a chatbox for communication between the victim’s caregiver and the naloxone carrier. If there are no nearby responders within 1 minute, the app automatically expands the search field to notify the next closest naloxone carriers. On scene, the app provides step-by-step instructions for administering naloxone, according to the type (eg, injectable, spray).

“In a panicked situation, or one in which the initial naloxone administration did not completely work, if someone arrives at the scene quickly, the chances of initial and subsequent reversal could be improved,” said developer Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, PharmD, chief executive officer and chief medical officer at Remitigate LLC in Delmar, NY.

Recently, the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) announced their support of US Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, in urging more Americans to carry naloxone. The academy is continuing to raise awareness of this lifesaving medication for opioid overdose.

Price: Free download and usage
Developers: Jeffrey Fudin, PharmD, Nadia Shahzad, PharmD, and Nicholas Jarrett, PhD, of Remitigate LLC, Delmar, NY
Availability: Beta testing of the app is ongoing and expected to conclude in 2018.




This HIPAA-privacy compliant mobile app records videos of patients taking their medication in an effort to establish accountability and facilitate patient-doctor communication when needed.

How it Works

Some individuals simply have trouble taking all of their medication as prescribed. Reasons for non-adherence may include forgetfulness, feeling better before the end of the regimen, or trying to avoid unwanted side effects. An app called Emocha enables patients to record themselves taking a prescribed dose of medication, automatically capturing the date and time. The video is then made available to the prescribing doctor through a portal so that he/she can track and monitor adherence and follow up if necessary.

Emocha works with public health departments, hospitals, doctors, and health insurers who can offer the app to their patients. Once an organization has signed on with emocha, eligible patients can download the app and sign in to begin use.

All a patient has to do is log in, communicate any issues such as side effects, and use the app consistently when taking a dose of prescribed medication. Health coaches, available through the app’s company, can provide support.

Price: Free for patients
Developers: emocha Mobile Health Inc., Baltimore, MD.
Availability: Check with your doctor/provider

Updated on: 04/18/18
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