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Home made, custom, Pill Paks (boxes)

Not everyone has to get this compulsive about their dosing.. although I do STRONGLY suggest that you take vitamins at more than just one meal a day... and I do want to emphasize that vitamins do you the most good when you take them WITH meals... taking a vitamin on an empty stomach does your body just about the same good as just dropping it into the toilet and pulling the little handle on the tank.

So, as the months passed and my number of daily thyroid doses increased.. and adding the other supplements along with the vitamins, I ended up with a lot of sorted little bits of pills and it was getting to be a real hassle to keep track of things.... so I sat down one day and designed my own little pill boxes. With all the features that I wanted and couldn't find in a commercially made box.

These are made using stiff paperboard, printer paper, glue, and for decorative outsides I used pretty Kleenex boxes..... And then clear box tape to give it a fairly waterproof exterior and a nice shine. First I'll go through the features of the boxes, how mine are set up and then a bit about how they were made.

You might get some ideas to set up your own meds in a way that makes regular dosing easier to do.. be it meds or vitamins.

Some of the pictures here are from Spring of '05 when I first set up this page and some were updated and/or added when the site was updated in July of '09, with the newer ones you can click on the pic to get an enlarged view in a new window, to get a closer look, if you want....

Topper (Linda)
aka ThyroGeek
July, 09

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My current collection of pill boxes. The first one has my logo, the little brownish one on the lower right, it needed a rubber band to hold it closed. Not practical when away from home and it breaks... so then the next three were made, with fitted lids, they stay closed on their own. Still small enough to fit in a shirt pocket for when I was out of the house. Four 1-day boxes were too much work, since I had to set them up every four days. But, with materials limited, I ended up making two larger boxes, each holding four days worth of pills. They need rubber bands just to be sure that the lids stay tight against the pill cups to prevent the tiny pill chips from migrating between cups.

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Here is a four-day box opened up and showing the four sections/compartments, one of them is pulled out and set across the corner. Each day's section can be moved between single day boxes and four day boxes... so if I need to scoot out the door and don't happen to be dosing from a one day box that day I can grab that section and move it to a one day box in just a matter of seconds and be out the door with all my doses ready to go. Each 1-day section has sixteen removable pill cups that I can just lift out of the cups to tip the pills into my mouth. No digging or spilling a zillion pills trying to get a dose out.

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Beginning set up for Pill PaksHere you can see I've got every thing set up to start filling pill paks. I buy as many of my vitamins, supps and such in bulk and then transfer to smaller bottles so that the bulk bottles don't get opened as often. Reducing exposure to humidity and such maintains potency and shelf life better. I make my own desiccant paks to keep my pills dry. All the pill pak sections are set on top of their boxes ready to be filled. With the number of boxes that I have now I only have to do 'set up' every 12 days. It takes a bit over an hour, but it's only once every 12 days, so that's not bad....

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Keep in mind that I've been doing this for several years now and have it down pat... Here are the first round of pills that I'm getting ready to go into the paks. 8 different pills, five of which are split into halves or quarters, according to that pills dosing schedule. I cut for four boxes at a time and then sort the pills into their cups... this pic shows the whole pile of stuff needed for these 8 pills to be chopped and put into the 12 pill paks. On the right side of my 'cutting tray' you can see the pills already chopped for the first 4 paks. After I got the routine down I found that doing several pills at the same time cut down the number of times I actually have to pick up the daily sections and put pills in cups. Here I've reduced 8 times picking each one up to only 1 time. Picking up 12 sections one at a time is a LOT less than picking up 96!!!

...and now...

The '09 set up, with the various pills split to their proper dosage sizes and layed out, ready to place in the proper pill cups of each pill box:

Spil and ready to sort out into the pill paksEach of the pills of pills are in the proper order to place in the pill cups. It's a pretty tight fit, with so many, and the cups being so small. They have to be small cuz the pill box needs to fit in my shirt pocket, for mobility.

The split pills are nearly all tucked away, only three boxes left to fill upI pick up each cup, they are made to be taken out of the boxes, easier to fill and easier to dose that way, and place the pill bits in the cup, if I do them right, they all fit.. if I get lazy.. they are 'packed' too loose and they won't all fit.

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The process of laying out pills to keep things straight and time efficient continues to change as time goes by. With 17 supplements in my arsenal now, covering vitamins, minerals and herbals, it's looking a little different. How you set up your own system is up to you, find a way that works for you so that you can keep everything straight and easy to keep track of.

Pills counted out and laid out, ready to cutYou may find humor in this...I was soo careful with laying things out to look 'nice' for the shot and miscounted the Horsechestnut pills! hehehehe I didn't catch the mistake until I reallized that there weren't enough to finish filling all my boxes.

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Just for a clearer perspective here are some more samples of pills being chopped. These were done on the smaller tray that I used to use but I still split them the same way... On the left are 2 grain tabs of natural thyroid that have been quartered and then put in groups of six quarters. My dose in '06 when I shot this pic. After splitting, the quarters were sorted out into the pill paks according to my dosing schedule for natural thyroid.

On the right are my selenium tabs.. quartered and ready to start sorting into the pill paks. I choose to take my Selenium in multi-doses, 1 quarter tab with each of four of my meals. I do Mini-Meals, by the way.. 5 to 7 per day.

On the left... Adrenal glandular quartered and in groups of five.. ready to put into their compartment in the pill paks. I quarter the tabs to allow them to dissolve quicker - I take them sublingually, under the tongue, as I do my natural thyroid. I choose to dose my adrenal once per day, when I wake in the morning.

Here, in the pic to the right is some synthetic T3, on the left side of the cutting tray is a whole 25 mcg pill, in the center is a pill split in half, and on the right are four quarters. This allows me to adjust my doses by approximately 6 1/4 mcg increments. I say approximately because there is some dust/chips that can come off. I collect all the 'dust' at the end of chopping and dump it all on my tongue and wash it down with some water... I refer to it as my 'pill day cocktail'.

Since I do mini meals and prefer to take vitamins with every meal I take my vitamin caplets and split them into eighths. Walk with me, I'll explain how I do it. I take a pill from the pile and cut it in half. Separate the two halves and turn them 90 degrees and cut them in half again. Separate the four pieces and lay the large cut side down and split them in half again.  I end up with a piece of vitamin to take with each mini meal and an extra to take with my late night supps and snack an hour before bed. Perfect!

Here, on the right, you can see a day's pills laid out, this was my dosing in the fall of '06.. quite a mess to keep track of.. see why I wanted a compartmentalized set up to have them just ready to grab when it was time to dose? And here, on the left, you can see my daily dose as of now, June, 2005. Up by the top row you can see one of the little removable pill cups. Oh my! I was in a hurry when I laid them out today for this pic, wasn't I? Not nearly as neat as last fall's pics!!! hehehehe

supplement doses taken with some of my daily mealsPill pieces laid out to show doses for Breakfast...and here, on the right, you can see the July '09 doses for the breakfast dose of supps, and on the left is the doses of supps for the other three meals of the day.

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I've changed how I do my thyroid dosing over the years, depending on the sizes(s)/dose(s) of tabs I am able to obtain, now I have to cut the tabs into sixths... when using 3 grain and 2 grain tabs... so here you can see the 3-grain tabs in the top half and 2-grain on the bottom. First I split the tabs in half then, without pulling the two halves apart I then cut in thirds. My dose now consists of three pieces from a half of a 3 grain and 3 pieces from a half of a 2 grain for my natural thyroid doses. I also take synthetic T4 and synthetic T3 to get the correct daily dose. (based on my last labs and my basals)

A newer shot of 2 grain sized thyroid pills split into sixths:

2 grain sized thyroid tab split into sixths

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The little pile of bits left after splitting all the supplementsNow.. to give you an idea of how much 'crumbling' and pill dust there is, on the left is a picture showing the little pile of dust and bits left after splitting 17 different supplement pills, times 12 days, into 2, 4, 6 or 8 pieces (depending on the doses I'm taking of that item).

The little pile of bits left after splitting all the thyroid pillsTo the right is the pile of dust and bits left after splitting all my thyroid doses, between 50 and 60 pills are currently getting chopped up to give me my 12 days of thyroid doses.

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I admit that this is a lot more complicated than just about any body else would need. I share it with you as a nudge to get you thinking 'outside the box' when it comes to dosing. We don't all dose the same way. Some do great with single doses of things because the NEED it all at once, others need little bits spread throughout the day. It's worth spending some time figuring out what your body needs help with, how to dose, when to dose, what supplements will be of additional benefit.

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Making the boxes

I've pondered on this part for a while. Do I post the 'patterns' that I use or just offer to give them to anyone that requests them... I decided to do the later... so that I will have an idea as to how informative this page has been and so that the person that wants to make their own boxes can be sure of how to contact me if they need specific help. So, here's the little ' click here ' thing to shoot me an email. If there ends up being gobs of emails I'll probably post the patterns here to look at and then pass on the files to those that contact me.

ThyroGeek
June, 2005
&
July, 2009

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