Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Danish app for prescription drugs addiction

William Payne
February 28, 2018

Lærke Demant Lade-Foged, Founder & CEO Silvia Meyer, and Michelle Barloese (right)
Lærke Demant Lade-Foged, Rebound Pro CEO Silvia Meyer, and Michelle Barloese (right)

A Danish start-up has launched an app to support patients in withdrawing from prescription painkillers, anti-depressants and benzodiazepines. The app is part of a wider healthcare programme across Denmark aimed at supporting patients with prescription addictions manage their discontinuation of addictive drugs and withstand consequent withdrawal symptoms.

Rebound Pharmacy Withdrawal is the first app version of the programme, developed by previous patients in collaboration with specialists within the field of medicine & drug addiction.

The app is part of the programme development that seeks to prevent and decrease the epidemic rise of people getting medicine addicted, having withdrawal injuries, relapses and overdoses due to failed and unsupervised withdrawal processes, from medicine they have relied on through months or years.

The team behind the app, part of the Rebound Programme in Denmark, is inviting patients from around the world to review the app and provide feedback to the current version of the app. The feedback will help the team develop an advanced withdrawal programme called Rebound Pro in the summer of 2018.

According to start-up founder, Silvia Meyer, withdrawals from opioid painkillers, antidepressants and benzodiazepines, affects the lives and health of million individuals each year, but the focus on this critical stage of medicine discontinuation is lacking.

"Despite the continuously growing usage of antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and especially strong opioid painkillers (in the USA alone between 43 - 50 percent of the population above the age of 12, are on prescription medicine), there is no research supported method or individual support available to patients that reduce and withdraw from medication where the body experiences severe withdrawal symptoms" said Ms. Meyer, Rebound Pro A/S chief executive.

"The current practise of health care today - is expecting patients on high risk medication and antidepressants, to taper off on their own without being supported by an individual protocol, regular follow-ups, communication and monitoring," said Ms. Meyer. "It's against common knowledge and beyond reason that this can be so with the technology we have today. We believe that the withdrawal period it's the direct cause of many relapses, overdoses and injuries that come along with a failed withdrawal."

When quitting high risk medicine, the experience of a recurrence of severe physical or psychological symptoms and withdrawals, can be extremely hard and for many, the reason to not quitting, but stay on medication.

Ms. Meyer has personally struggled with medicine and opioid addiction for 14 years. It took many attempts, before discontinuation was possible and recovery succeeded since 2007. In 2012 she established the NGO Addiction Association Misbrugsportalen ("The Abuse Portal") supporting patients and their families affected by drug and medicine dependency through social impact projects.

With a team of five professionals and in collaboration with previous patients, she founded the Startup Health Tech Venture, Rebound Pro A/S developing the Rebound Programme.

Ms. Meyer says that she is motivated by the millions of patients across the world affected by side effects, withdrawal injuries and medicine addiction each year.

Rebound Pharmacy Withdrawal is designed to give patients control over and insight in their own progress. In the app they can measure, evaluate and track their well-being and daily withdrawal symptoms and keep a diary all in one place.

"This programme will not only benefit patients in the future, but health professionals as well, when doctors are able to access patients individual progress, and thereby follow, support and adjust the dosage according to their symptoms and well-being" says Ms. Meyer

Dr. Mads Tandrup, Head of Medicine at King Island Treatment Clinic, said "Many health professionals are quite aware of the challenge our patients have when they go home to withdraw, and we do not have a tool to provide them to increase their safety and our support other than consultations"

"The programme will provide a higher level of patient safety during tapering, giving health care support and needed communication through a device that our patients already have in their pocket. We as doctors, will never be able monitor our patients at their home to support them in this period, so this is both an effective, time-efficient, preventive and quality assured method to offer my patients in the future" said Dr.Tandrup.