A Digital Pill called Abilify MyCite has been given the go ahead by the Food and Drug Administration in the US.
The groundbreaking measure allows this Digital Pill to track and notify when medication has been successfully administered.
The pills come with an embedded sensor which communicates with a patch that the patient wears on their ribs; creating a foolproof record relating to time and regularity. This huge merging of technology and healthcare could be a game-changer for patients with Alzheimer’s, depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and dementia (among others).
The sensor itself is about ‘the size of a grain of sand‘, and is ‘made of silicon, copper, and magnesium‘.
According to a Reuters report: “The FDA said that being able to track ingestion of medicines prescribed for mental illness may be useful “for some patients”, although the ability of the digital pill to improve patient compliance had not been proved.
“The FDA supports the development and use of new technology in prescription drugs and is committed to working with companies to understand how technology might benefit patients and prescribers,” said Mitchell Mathis of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.”
The data which is transmitted to the patch from the sensor is then logged in an app, the contents of which are available to the patient, their doctor and a select number of family members or carers.
The Verge’s Thuy Ong elaborated upon the story:
“The pill comes after years of research and is a venture between Japanese pharmaceutical company Otsuka and digital medicine service Proteus Digital Health, which makes the sensor. The pill is one way to address the prevalent problem of patients not taking their medication correctly, with the IMS Institute estimating that the improper and unnecessary use of medicine cost the US healthcare sector over $200 billion in 2012. The approval also opens the door for pills that are used for other conditions beyond mental health to be digitized.”
Set to minimise human or illness related error with regard to medication intake, the revolutionary procedure could well be the first of many such items to hit the market.