The Food Drug and Drug Administration has just approved a sensor containing pill which lets the doctor know when it’s been taken. This digital pill was approved on Monday.
The pill in question mixes two existing components which include a 2012 approved tracking system and the antipsychotic Abilify. Manufactured by Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Abilify has long been used in the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. As it combines the two products, the new pill will be called Abilify MyCite. The sensor is made by a company called Proteus.This gets activated once it comes in contact with fluids in the stomach.
A medical correspondent, Dr. Jon LaPook, revealed how Abilify MyCite works. The sensor, which is the size of a grain of sand, is embedded with the medication and then swallowed by the patient. When it reaches the stomach, the sensor emits a signal that reaches the person’s skin. Once it reaches the skin, it then signals your smartphone letting you know the medication has been ingested. LaPook hopes the new pill will better allow doctors to better monitor their patients’ treatment.
“There’s a big problem, which is that about 50 percent of people don’t take medicine the way they are supposed to, so hopefully this could give the patient the ability to get a reminder,” LaPook stated.
While the new medication is a significant first step towards digital treatment, it does raise several problems regarding one’s intimacy. LaPook, however, reassured the public that the treatment is not administered forcefully as the individual can choose whether to take the tablet or not. The medical correspondent also compared the potential privacy concerns to that of existing electronic records in a hospital.
However, in its announcement, the FDA did not claim that Abilify MyCite will improve a patient’s compliance in taking medication. And more ironically, the first digital medication to be approved by the FDA is aimed at schizophrenics who are known to suffer from the delusion of being watched.
While the drug is controversial, the positive elements are obvious for those who worry about their loved one’s well being. Co-Director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburg, Dr. Walid Gellad, reaffirms the drug’s efficiency.
“You will actually know if a person has taken the pill, put it in their mouth, and it’s in their stomach,” Gellad said.
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