eHealth News, South Africa

New App to Help Combat Prescription Drug Dependency

A Danish eHealth startup has developed an app, called Rebound, to help people overcome their addiction to prescription drugs.

Rebound - EHN

A Danish eHealth startup has developed an app, called Rebound, to help people overcome their addiction to prescription drugs.

Once launched in December 2017, users will be able to use the app to develop an individualised plan for regulating their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage in a safe, controlled manner.

Prescription drug dependency, its associated side-effects and drug overdose is a global issue. One problem often encountered even by those taking medications as directed is the rebound effect: after extended usage, drugs lose their effectiveness and symptoms return with surprising force. Certain classes of drugs, including opioids, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, are at higher risk of inducing the rebound effect. The effect is a major factor in drug dependence and addiction, which then leads to degraded quality of life and human suffering.

The developers of Rebound see the app as an important asset in helping the millions of individuals suffering with drug dependency. The team behind the Rebound app have extensive experience and knowledge related to addiction and dependency. Co-founder of Rebound, Silvia Meyer, had previously battled with a 14 year addiction which led to her establishing the Danish NGO Misbrugsportalen, which translates to ‘The Misuse Portal’, in 2012 and has been working with addiction since. The other co-founder of Rebound is General Manager of Misbrugsportalen, Lærke Ladefoged-Demant, who has worked with addiction, recovery and social development projects for 14 years.

Patients looking to reduce or stop their prescription medicine usage are encouraged to plan their withdrawal in collaboration with a medical professional. However, a doctor or nurse can’t be present 100% of the time, and that’s where the Rebound app comes in. With the app, users can develop a personalised step-down plan based on their specific medications and dosages. The app then alerts users about the amount of their next planned dosage and provides different features allowing them to keep track of their progress.

To help manage withdrawal symptoms awareness, the Rebound app allows users to track symptoms via daily symptom surveys. The app includes a list of common symptoms and users can also add their own. Every two weeks, Rebound generates a well-being score based on WHO metrics which patients can use to adjust their step-down plan.

According to the Rebound team, the app will also help patients improve adherence to instructions from their doctors. “When patients have a greater sense of control, outcomes are nearly always improved,” said the Rebound team.

Doctors can also receive progress data directly from the app if patients choose to send it, giving the opportunity for healthcare professionals to learn more about the patient’s withdrawal process.

“The goal is to ensure higher quality assurance when patients withdraw and preventing the increased amount of injuries occurred during a fast or wrong tapering process,” said the Rebound team.

The development of the Rebound app has been made possible by a partnership between Business Angels and the head management behind the Misuse Portal, a Danish non-profit organisation that provides education and support for those dealing with substance abuse.

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