The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a way to track whether patients really have taken their medication as they claim they do. This new way to detect a patient’s medication is through a digital pill that contains an ingestible sensor within it.
Abilify MyCite, the name of the pill, is a sensor made of silicon, copper and magnesium and is no larger than a grain of sand. This pill is fitted inside a drug called Abilify that treats schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and is an add-on treatment for depression, The Verge reported.
When the pill comes in contact with stomach acid, the sensor is activated and transmits a signal which is picked up by a patch the patient wears on his left rib cage. The patch is connected through Bluetooth to a smartphone. The information gathered by the pill can be viewed by the doctor and four other people that have been chosen by the patient to access the information.
This sensor tracks the time and dosage of the pill along with other activities like sleeping patterns, heart rate and steps taken by the patients. The patch must be replaced after every seven days.
This pill is a venture between Japanese pharmaceutical company Otsuka and digital medicine service Proteus Digital Health, which has been made after years of research.
The pill is one way to address the prevalent problem of patients not taking their medication correctly and also open doors for pills that are used for other diseases apart from mental health.
However, experts are concerned with this pill and what it might mean for privacy. While talking to The New York Times, Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer of the health plan division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center cautioned that improper usage ‘could foster more mistrust instead of trust’.
However, patients would have to wait until next year for the smart pill to be available in markets.