Digital Pill Tells Doc When You Take It

Digital Pill Tells Doc When You Take It

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the country's first drug with a digital ingestion tracking system.

The pills contain a sensor that's similar in size to a grain of salt and has coatings of copper and magnesium.

Although the FDA has approved the inclusion of the sensor as being potentially useful (and not presenting any significant risks), it did note that it's not yet proven that it does "improve patient compliance with their treatment regimen".

The pills are not licensed to be used in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis. This sensor incorporated in the pill can communicate with a patch that patients have to wear on their ribcage. When the sensor corresponds to liquid in stomach and transmits to MyCite Patch, the sensor is assimilated and discarded from the body. The idea here is that by ensuring the patient is taking their pills regularly, and on time, the doctor can be assured that their patient is not at an increased risk of unpredictable or risky behavior.

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The drug ABILIFY MYCITE was developed by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Co.Ltd and was approved by the FDA in 2002 in order to treat schizophrenia.

"Consumers already manage important tasks like banking, shopping, and communicating with friends and family by using their smart phones, as they go about their daily lives".

"With this FDA approval, Otsuka can help enable individuals with serious mental illness to engage with their care team about their treatment plan in a new way", he added.

Dr. Michael Birnbaum, director of the Early Treatment Program (for psychosis) at Lenox Hill Hospital in NY, said the "continual adoption of new and innovative technological tools is ubiquitous". Still, he said, the system provides an opportunity to "passively extract digital data", and this can be critical to improving health. However, they have to change it every seven days for the measurements to be effective. The company anticipates that information will be available in 2018, "closer to when our initial rollout commences". Quoted in the New York Times, Harvard Medical School instructor Dr. Ameet Sarpatwari said a digital pill "has the potential to improve public health", but added that, "if used improperly, it could foster more mistrust instead of trust". "Decisions about development of additional Digital Medicines are still under consideration", she said.

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