Pill Identifier Lite :  Head-to-Head comparison Against pill identifiers in Epocrates and Lexi-Comp

Pill Identification can represent a challenging but occasionally even life-saving endeavor for healthcare professionals and the general public.  Examples where pill identification techniques can be of great assistance include: an ER physician diagnosing beta-blockade toxicity in a bradycardic patient or oral hypoglycemic toxicity in a seizing patient, parents discovering an unknown stray pill in their teenager’s belongings, an EMS finding an unresponsive patient who overdosed on opiates, or a hospitalist unraveling an elderly patient’s antihypertensive regimen in the setting of acute renal failure.  Thus, pill identification is often crucial in clinical practice.

On June 1, 2011, the Pill Identifier Lite App for iPhone from Drugs.com hit the #1 spot in the paid medical app rankings in the iTunes App Store.  This App, based on the Drugs.com Pill Identifier Wizard website (here), aims to help users identify pills by color, shape, and imprint from the convenience of the iPhone or iPad.

Read below the jump to see how the Pill Identifier Lite stacks up against the Epocrates (reviewed here) and Lexi-Comp (reviewed here) Pill Identifier functions, concluding with a direct comparison:

Of note, Pill Identifier comes in Lite and Pro versions.  The Lite version requires connectivity to view images, while the Pro version includes these images without connectivity required (and no ads).  Here, we review the $0.99 Lite version.


The Pill Identifier Lite app start screen quickly explains how to get started in finding a medication, offering the tip of using a space to separate front and back imprints when searching.


The app is simple and streamlined, offering only a search screen.



In addition to featuring popular searches, the search screen offers options to refine the search by shape or color.


The Pill Identifier Lite app offers “search-as-you-type” functionality, facilitating a more robust search.



Once a medication is chosen, “Pill Details” offers basic information such as manufacturer, strength, pregnancy category, and CSA schedule, as well as links to pill images and drug information.  Notice the advertisement on the bottom, an unfortunate feature of the Lite version of the app.



Clicking on “View Images” loads (over several seconds) information on use and pregnancy risk from Drugs.com, images of both sides of the medication, and further resources on the medication (links to side effects, drug interactions, drug class, etc.).  However, all of these various sections are interrupted by ads.


The “Drug Information” link, after loading and interruption from ads, features further links to the information that would normally be found in a drug reference program.  However, unlocking the information here requires further links and loading to reach separate parts of the information that could otherwise be easily obtained through MedScape, MicroMedex, or Epocrates.

Read on to see how Pill Identifier Lite compares to free versions of Epocrates and Lexi Comp.