September 10th, 2010
10:33 AM ET

Identify pills with new NIH web tool

Poison control centers get more than 1 million calls a year about medicines that need to be identified. And maybe you've been in situations when pills seem to wander away from their labeled bottles, and you don't know what they are.

Now the National Institutes of Health is developing a way to quickly identify medications based on appearance. Pillbox, in its beta testing phase, gives possibilities for your mystery pill based on its shape, color, size, imprint, and "scoring" (how many pieces it could be broken into based on those little lines).

There's also an advanced search so you can go the other way: Search for a drug and see what it's supposed to look like. At this early stage, though, there are plenty of listings that don't have images. Pillbox has 10,562 records, but only 912 currently have images, the website says. The National Library of Medicine and the Food and Drug Administration are working on photographing more pills.

Pillbox has more uses than pill identification, said David Hale, developer of the NIH’s web tool.  He said it’s been used to teach pharmaceutical students, to list inactive ingredients in pills that people might have sensitivity or allergies to and to help law enforcement.

Hale made an announcement this week at the Gov 2.0 summit that new data were now available on Pillbox and that it was also giving access to tech developers to innovate ways to use the data. Pharmaceutical companies were invited to send samples of their drugs so more images could be placed into the system.

This tool is still under development and not intended for clinical use, the NIH warns.

Hale said Pillbox was released with the disclaimer to make sure “everyone is involved in the conversation and all stakeholders are validating the process in an open and transparent way.”

Here's more on how it was created from Mashable. It is intended for emergency responders, poison control centers, health care professionals, and everyone else.

Call the national Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 if you suspect a poisoning emergency.

soundoff (888 Responses)
  1. RV Repair Seal Beach

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering troubles with your RSS. I donít understand why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody having similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 29, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Camper Repair Shop Near Me

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 29, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    This is the perfect web site for anyone who really wants to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for ages. Great stuff, just great!


    June 29, 2021 at 05:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It is the little changes that produce the most significant changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    June 29, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. pharmacepticacom

    tadalafil daily online https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    I'm pretty pleased to uncover this page. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely liked every part of it and I have you saved as a favorite to check out new information in your website.


    June 29, 2021 at 07:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sprinter Van Service Near Me

    This is the perfect webpage for anybody who hopes to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that's been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just excellent!


    June 29, 2021 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 29, 2021 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Luxury Van

    Howdy! I could have sworn Iíve been to this web site before but after going through some of the posts I realized itís new to me. Anyways, Iím certainly pleased I discovered it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


    June 29, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Utility Van Repair

    I quite like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!


    June 29, 2021 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Repairs Nearby


    June 29, 2021 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. pharmacepticacom

    tadalafil research powder https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair Places Near Me

    Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 29, 2021 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    June 29, 2021 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Repair Near Me Now

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.


    June 30, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 30, 2021 at 03:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Repair Huntington Beach


    June 30, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Repair Near Me


    June 30, 2021 at 05:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 30, 2021 at 06:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    Great article! We are linking to this particularly great article on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    June 30, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and the rest of the website is really good.


    June 30, 2021 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your blog.


    June 30, 2021 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Mercedes Benz Dealer Service Sprinter Near Me 91605

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this site. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉


    June 30, 2021 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Repair Around Me

    After exploring a handful of the articles on your website, I honestly like your technique of writing a blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my website too and tell me what you think.


    June 30, 2021 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Handicap Van Repair Shop


    June 30, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Repair Huntington Beach


    June 30, 2021 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Nissan Cargo Van Repair

    Having read this I believed it was very enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 30, 2021 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Sprinter Repair Orange County


    June 30, 2021 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

September 2010
  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.