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Device Review: Cadex 12 Alarm Medication Reminder and Alert Watch By e-pill

Reviewed on April 22nd, 2015

By Edmund LoPresti, PhD


The Cadex medication reminder watch is a low-tech portable cueing device. The watch can be programmed with up to 12 reminders which repeat on a daily basis. Reminders are delivered with an auditory alarm. Each reminder can also be associated with a brief, customizable text message which scrolls across the face of the watch. The watch is marketed primarily as a medication reminder, but the reminders could be for any activity or appointment, ideally one that repeats regularly. The auditory alarm lasts up to 4 hours if the user does not acknowledge it. The user has a snooze option to delay the alarm for 3 minute intervals. The watch can also be programmed with the user's health information (similar to a medical alert bracelet), which is displayed by pressing the "Alert" button.


The Cadex watch is appropriate for individuals who have mild-moderate cognitive impairments negatively impacting functional memory, attention and/or initiation abilities within daily routines. The watch is appropriate for individuals who have difficulty learning to use more complex devices. The watch is appropriate for individuals who have difficulty remembering to carry other devices from place to place, as it is worn on the wrist. The watch is appropriate for individuals who may be uncomfortable with more high-tech devices and for whom a wristwatch is a familiar, comfortable technology.


The Cadex watch is not appropriate for people who have hearing loss to the point that they cannot reliably hear the auditory alarm.

The Cadex watch is not appropriate for people who have vision loss or limited literacy which interferes with reading the text messages. The text font is large compared to most wristwatches, but still must fit on a small screen. The user must be able to read the message; reading is more difficult as larger messages will scroll across the screen with only part of the message visible at one time, but the language can be customized to the individual's vocabulary. The auditory alarms are still functional without text messages, but in this case the Cadex watch would have limited benefit over standard alarm wristwatches.

Fine motor limitations could make it difficult to use the small buttons to acknowledge or snooze alarms, and even more difficult to use the buttons to program the device.

Some users will have difficulty learning the steps to independently program the device, but may still benefit from receiving the alarms if a support person programs the device. The Cadex watch does not support reminder patterns other than once per week.


Affordability At the time of this review, the Cadex watch retails for $139.95. This is less expensive than more high tech devices such as an iPod Touch, but more expensive than mainstream alarm wristwatches and some other low-tech memory aids.

Compatibility The Cadex watch does not need to interact with other devices to function, so compatibility is not a problem. Unlike some smart watches which are coming on the market, it is not able to communicate with a computer or mobile device.

Consumer Reparability In our experience, we have not needed to repair the device beyond regular maintenance. If repairs were needed, they would need to be done by the manufacturer.

Dependability In our experience, the watch has been highly dependable.

Durability The Cadex wristwatch has good durability compared with standard wristwatches, although not as durable as many sports wristwatches. It is water resistant but not waterproof.

Ease of Assembly No assembly required.

Ease of Maintenance The primary maintenance tasks are changing the battery and adjusting the time as needed, usually for daylight savings time. Adjusting the time is slightly more complicated than adjusting the time on a standard wristwatch, because the watch has additional functions and the user needs to make sure that he or she is in the correct function for setting the time and not an alarm. Also, as with any wristwatch, setting the time requires the use of small buttons which could be difficult for people with fine motor limitations. With regard to changing the battery, the manufacturer recommends taking the watch to a store where watches are sold, to purchase the battery and have a clerk change the battery. Changing the battery on one's own is comparable to mainstream wristwatches, but does require quite good fine motor control. After the battery is changed, it will probably be necessary to re-enter the user's alarms.

Effectiveness For someone with near-normal hearing, the auditory alarm does a good job of getting someone's attention. For someone with fairly good visual and literacy abilities, the text messages can convey simple messages to deliver reminders. Within these constraints, the Cadex watch is quite effective as a basic memory aid.

Flexibility The Cadex watch only offers daily repeating reminders, so cannot be adjusted for weekly schedules or other patterns (e.g. monthly, weekdays only, or Tuesday-Thursday). The reminder text is limited in length. The watch does not support vibrating alarm or auditory messages. Because setting alarms can be time-consuming, and because repeat options are limited, in practice the Cadex watch is most appropriate for very consistent schedule items (such as taking medication) rather than one-time appointments.

Learnability Acknowledging a reminder only requires the user to remember one button to press, and the ability to snooze only requires learning a second button. This can be a bit confusing, since there are five buttons available. However, for many people who would benefit from basic reminders, this device is easier to learn than other, more complex devices. Programming alarms, however, is somewhat complicated, requiring the user to remember the correct sequences of pressing the 4 watch programming buttons. Since the Cadex watch is most appropriate for someone whose schedule does not change very often, it will probably not be necessary to program it on a regular basis; but this makes learning more difficult. Some people with cognitive disabilities will be quite capable of entering their schedule with reference to the product manual, but in many cases it will be desirable for schedule entry to be performed by a support person.

Operability As discussed under "Learnability", acknowledging alarms is fairly easy but programming alarms is somewhat difficult. Operability in each case will be much more difficult if the user has fine motor limitations or visual difficulties, as the watch buttons, button labels, and onscreen cues are all small. Personalizing text messages is particularly time consuming, as the user must scroll through the alphabet for each character in the message. Entering the schedule can become a chore if someone's schedule changes frequently, so the Cadex watch is most appropriate for delivering cues which are very consistent over a fairly long period of time (such as medication reminders, the primary marketed use of the device).

Personal Acceptability Because the watch looks for the most part like a standard wristwatch, it is generally acceptable for people who are accustomed to using (and being seen with) a wristwatch. It does look more like a "men's" watch so this will limit acceptability for some people. The band can be replaced (within size limitations) but the watch face cannot be changed. Also some people may be sensitive to wearing something on their wrist, and may not find a wristwatch acceptable.

Physical Comfort The watch strap is adjustable, and is generally comfortable unless someone is sensitive to wearing anything on his or her wrist.

Physical Security The watch does not pose a threat to the user's security. One exception would be if it fails to deliver high-priority medication reminders; but as mentioned above the watch has generally been found to be dependable, durable, and basically easy to maintain.

Portability Because the Cadex device is worn on the wrist, it is extremely portable and unlikely to be forgotten over the course of the day (although the user most remember to put it on in the morning).

Securability Because the Cadex device is worn on the wrist, it is less likely than most devices to be lost or stolen.

Supplier Reparability The watch comes with a one year warranty. Whether the supplier repairs or replaces the watch, it will probably be necessary to re-enter the user's schedule.

Not satisfied at all 

Not very satisfied 

More or less satisfied 

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Very Satisfied





Consumer Reparability






Ease of Assembly 


Ease of Maintenance 







  • Acknowledging alarms


  • Programming alarms



  • Acknowledging alarms


  • Programming alarms


Personal acceptability 


Physical Comfort 


Physical Security






Supplier Reparability