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FebriSol is a scratch-card-style sticker that helps people remember to take their medication

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Renderings of Ricky Stoch's FebriSol

South African designer Ricky Stoch has created a scratch-card-style sticker for medicine bottles that “gamifies” taking medication in order to encourage patients to remember to take their daily dose.

While FebriSol is designed to be used with any daily medication, the project has a special focus on the antiretrovirals (ARVs) used to combat HIV.

The patient simply sticks the label on their bottle, box or packet and scratches off the day’s metallic coating after taking their medication.

Bottles featuring Ricky Stoch's FebriSol stickers
Top image: the user simply scratches off the date when taking the medications. Above: a green tick is revealed when scratching the label

“By doing this they reveal a green tick providing positive reinforcement, essential to making behavioural change sustainable,” Stoch told Dezeen. “The patient can also see, at a glance, whether or not they have taken their medication on any given day.”

The Johannesburg- and London-based designer created the FebriSol label for a competition brief, the Dundeed Challenge, for which she ended up being shortlisted.

Stoch took cues from the contraceptive pill’s packaging design when creating the label, which features 28 days that run as a loop before ending back at the start.

“99% Invisible, one of my favourite podcasts, made an episode about repackaging the Pill and the positive effect it had on women’s adherence to oral contraceptives,” the designer explained.

“It has been at the back of my mind ever since. When I started working on the design for FebriSol I remembered the episode and drew inspiration from David Wagner’s original design from the 1960s and subsequent iterations.”

FebriSol labels by Ricky Stoch
FebriSol’s layout design was inspired by that of contraceptive pills

The designer also reflected on her own experience of taking the contraceptive pill and other chronic medications, and tried to incorporate aspects that she felt would enhance the patient’s experience.

“The scratch card metaphor adds an element of gamification and means that the patient doesn’t need a pen or any other auxiliary tools to mark off the day,” Stoch said, explaining that this easy-to-use element is key in changing patient behaviour.

Stoch says focusing her research on HIV felt quite natural, as she has always been aware of the risks of the virus.

“I grew up in South Africa at the height of the HIV crisis, so I have always been very aware of the virus and the associated risks,” Stoch explained. “It felt quite natural to focus my research on HIV. “

Layout of Ricky Stoch's FebriSol stickers
The sticker has 28 days

Stoch focused on antiretrovirals as they are fundamental to ending the HIV epidemic, since they lead to viral suppression that prolongs patients’ lives and means they can’t transmit the virus.

However, she points out that poor adherence to medication is not unique to ARVs.

“It is estimated that poor adherence to chronic medications costs the NHS over 500 million pounds per annum,” said Stoch. “The beauty of a solution like FebriSol is that it is so simple, cheap and easy to produce that it is applicable anywhere.”

FebriSol currently only works for a single-day treatment protocol, but the designer is adapting it to suit those who take multiple doses of medication each day, and wants to eventually also develop an accompanying app.

FebriSol’s design is registered in the UK and South Africa and is pending registration in the US.

Stoch, who says she has built a relationship with technical suppliers, is ready to put it into production and would ideally like to partner with a pharmaceutical company, chain or the NHS to ensure the product is dispensed with chronic prescriptions.

“I’d like FebriSol to be accessible to as many people as possible,” she said.

Other designers to create health products include Norway’s ANTI, which created a pocket-sized naloxone kit to prevent opioid-overdoes deaths, and graduate Natalie Kerres, who designed a flexible body cast.

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