When you hear the name Black & Decker, a few things probably come to mind: power tools, home appliances, and… medication dispensers? Yes, you read that right. From the same company that brought us the cordless drill, there now comes an innovative automatic medication dispenser known by the name of Pria.
With its smart features, video chat capability, and adorable LED facial expressions, Pria aims to take a step forward in the world of automatic medication dispensers. But does Pria live up to the name of its parent company? More importantly, is Pria the right solution for you or your loved one? In this review, I’ll tell you everything about my experience with Pria, from purchasing to daily use. Keep reading to find out more.
Who Might Need a Medication Dispenser
According to the Mayo Clinic, about one in seven Americans take prescription drugs. If you fall into this majority, then you’re likely already familiar with pill organizers, those plastic boxes that help you organize medications based on days and time. Well, at their core, automatic medication dispensers serve the same function. What separates them from those simple plastic trays, however, is automation.
The best automatic medication dispensers have features such as automatic pill sorting, smartphone apps, and will keep you on your medication schedule through a series of reminders. Nearly 50% of prescriptions are taken improperly, so these devices can be a great way to regulate meds for either you or a loved one.
Aging in place can often be difficult, but when paired with a medical alert system, a medication dispenser can be a great way for you to care for your loved one and avoid caregiver burnout. So without further ado, let’s get into all things Pria, one of my favorite medication dispensers.
What I Liked About Pria
For those of you short on time, here are the main things I took away from using my Pria medication dispenser.
What I Liked
Smart Features: Pria is not just your run-of-the-mill medication dispenser. In addition to the features we’ve come to expect from a medication management system, Pria also has voice assistant, facial recognition, and video call capabilities.
Easy To Use: With its large, circular touch screen and voice command capabilities, Pria makes itself easy to both set up and operate, even for those of us who aren’t so familiar with modern technology.
Elegant Design: A medication dispenser is something that you’ll likely keep on your kitchen counter (or some other prominent, visible location), so I appreciated that Pria, though large, is both sleek and innocuous, not to mention the adorable smiley face that appears on its screen when active. This is especially impressive when considering that most medication dispensers have the aesthetic appeal of a fax machine.
Highly Customizable: Unlike other medication dispensers that come with preset times, with Pria, the possibilities are nearly endless. Using the Pria app, you can set custom alerts and dispensing times that fit perfectly into your schedule.
What I Didn't
28-Day Medication Supply: Some medication dispensers can hold up to a 90-day supply of pills, so I was disappointed that Pria can only go up to 28. The upside of this, however, is that Pria is smaller than other medication dispensers.
Only Supports Solid Medications: Although it’s rare to find an automatic medication dispenser capable of handling both liquids and solids, I had hoped that Pria would be able to support gummies, at the least.
Lengthy Filling Process: When using Pria’s “assisting filling” feature, it took me nearly 20 minutes to fill a month’s supply of medication, not to mention my regiment only included 3 pills. For those of us with more than a few daily supplements, this process could become lengthy.
No Cellular Connectivity: Pria requires a reliable Wi-Fi connection in order to function, which could be a negative for someone without an in-home network.
Pria can be purchased online, through either Amazon or through Pria’s website. I would recommend the latter because it will provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding Pria, in addition to potential promotions. For example, I received $50 off my purchase price with Pria’s summer promotion!
Since Pria currently offers just one model, selecting my device was quick and easy. I simply added it to my cart, entered my credit card information, and completed my purchase. Disregarding the promo code, the cost of Pria came to $299.99. This included my Pria device, 30 Days of service, 2-day shipping, and a 1-Year limited warranty.
FYI: In order to use your Pria, you’ll need to pay a $9.99 monthly subscription fee. Without this, Pria is essentially useless.
Setting Up Pria
Pria arrived on my doorstep with a power cable, a reusable pill cup, some extra dosage dividers, and the Pria device itself. Following the included startup guide, I began the setup process. First, I placed my Pria near an outlet and plugged it into an outlet. The screen lit up and walked me through the process of connecting to my home Wi-Fi network.
Then I downloaded the Pria app onto my phone and synced the phone to my device. I was then prompted to take a few photos for facial recognition purposes. This would be a good safeguard in the event of Pria being in a home with children, as only I would be able to access my pills.
Pria Tip: The Pria app should be installed on the phone of the person who will be taking the medication from Pria. Caregivers, listed as contacts, can install the app later.
This part of the process took me less than fifteen minutes. What took considerably longer, though, was actually loading my pills into the device. For this step, I used my smartphone to record each medication and the regularity with which I wished to administer them. Once I finished this, I could begin loading them into my device.
To load my Pria, I simply said, “Okay, Pria, load my medications,” which then prompted me to select either assisted or manual filling, both of which I tried. Manual filling required me to remove the pill wheel from the back of my Pria and place my pills inside of each compartment, much like a traditional pill organizer. When finished, I simply popped the tray back inside my Pria.
Assisted filling, however, guided me through the process. The pill wheel remained inside of my device, and I filled each pill, one-by-one, based on the medications that I’d added to my profile. This method took about twice as long as manually filling my medications; however, this seemed like a great choice for someone concerned about miscounting or misconstruing their medication. So depending on what your caregiver situation is, both fill options could have their benefits.
Pria in Daily Use
Really, the most laborious part of Pria use (or any medication dispenser, for that matter) is the setup. After this period, using my Pria was a breeze.
For testing purposes, I set up my Pria with a twice-daily dose of three pills, one dose in the morning and the other at night. In order to receive my medication, I would simply say, “Okay Pria, dispense my meds.” Then, through either facial recognition or PIN-code, I would verify my identity and then receive my meds from beneath the Pria device. In times when I was less proactive, Pria would remind me through sound from the Pria itself and an app reminder on my phone that I had meds waiting to be taken.
It’s important to note, however, that Pria’s medication wheel is not locked. If you’re caring for someone who demonstrates med-seeking behaviors, they’ll have no trouble opening up this device and accessing their medication.
Missing Medications: If you miss your medications, don’t worry. Pria will notify both you and anyone connected to Pria through their phone, and you can either skip or administer a missed dose as needed.
In addition to medications, Pria also offers daily care plans. Essentially, this works like a personal planner. Through the Pria app, where you enter your medication schedule, you can also enter any other time-sensitive information such as doctor appointments, social events, or additional medication reminders. This information can be viewed at the beginning of each day, which would surely come in handy for someone looking to streamline their scheduling.
Another Pria feature that I loved was video calling. With Pria’s front-facing camera, I could begin a video chat with any of my contacts by saying, “Pria, call [name].” During my tests, both video and audio came through clearly on my Pria. Since my contacts could also make calls directly to my Pria, I felt like this would be a great way for caregivers to check in on their loved ones, whether to remind them of a missed medication or to simply say hello.
Here are some of Pria’s other abilities, all of which can be activated through voice commands:
Virtual Assistant: Much like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, Pria can accomplish a handful of tasks through voice commands. It can answer simple questions like, “How many tablespoons are in a quarter cup?”
Reminders: Using your voice, you can also have Pria set up reminders through its built-in timing software. Whether reminding yourself to pick up some groceries or to remember a birthday, Pria has you covered.
Weather Forecast: By saying, “Okay, Pria. What’s the weather?”––I could check in on the day’s forecast.
The Pria App
Using Pria’s smartphone app (available for Apple and Android devices), I was able to set up a customized care circle that included my husband and children. From their phones, they could initiate video calls with my Pria, in addition to checking in on my medication schedule and even adding reminders of their own. This app is included for free with your Pria subscription, which costs $9.99 per month.
Pria Warranty and Return Policy
If you’re on the fence about Pria, rest assured. You can try this device for up to 30 days, during which time you may return it and receive a full refund. Additionally, every Pria is covered by a 1-year limited warranty, which covers any manufacturer defects. Although I encountered no issues with my Pria, if I had, all I’d have to do is send it back to the manufacturer, and they would either repair or replace my device.
Is Pria the right medication dispenser for you? Well, this depends. If you’re looking for an automatic medication dispenser with a greater storage capacity, then you might want to look into Hero, which can handle up to 90 days worth of pills. With its Hero Fill feature, you can even get medications delivered straight to your door. With that said, Hero costs an initial $99 fee which, combined with their $29.99 monthly subscription cost, would quickly become more expensive than Pria, which you own rather than rent.
Where Pria really shines is with its smart features. Although many medication dispensers feature proprietary apps, Pria is the only one on the market to include voice commands and video chat. For the person looking for a user-friendly medication dispenser, one that can also keep you connected to the rest of the world, I would wholeheartedly recommend Pria.
Currently, Pria does not support cellular connectivity, so you’ll need an in-home Wi-Fi network in order to use this device. In a pinch, however, Pria can connect through the use of a mobile hotspot, if your smartphone supports this feature.
Pria contains 28 individual medication slots, meaning it can provide up to 28 daily doses of pills. Each of these slots can hold approximately 10 pills, though this naturally varies depending on the size of your medications.
Pria offers a one-year limited warranty that covers any manufacturer defect or damage unrelated to the user. To file a claim, you’ll need to call their customer support line. Additionally, if you are not satisfied with your Pria, you may return it within the first 30 days and receive a full refund.
Currently, Pria only supports solid medications. Gummies, while somewhat solid, are not a good fit for Pria, as they might get jammed inside of its wheel. Additionally, Pria does not have a refrigeration system, so these types of medications should also not be stored inside of Pria. With that said, Pria can still track and notify you of medications that are not stored inside of it.
In order to use your Pria, you should have a smartphone, Wi-Fi access, and the Pria app, available on both Apple and Android devices. Your smartphone will be used to load medication onto the app, which will then sync with your Pria via Wi-Fi. You’ll also need a Pria subscription, which you’ll be billed for on a monthly basis.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here