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USA gives green signal to 'sensor' pill to track patient's medication

16 November, 2017, 02:00 | Author: Jan Cross
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Before we have all the answers to those questions, Abilify MyCite is expected to hit the market sometime next year, and for better or worse, the seeds of snitch medication will have been planted. 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 unsafe behavior.

The FDA approved Abilify MyCite for treating a number of mental disorders including schizophrenia, manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar 1 disorder. Called the Abilify MyCite, the pill comes with sensors that basically indicate if patients just took their medication, Futurism reports. The agency said it the first drug in the United States with a digital ingestion tracking system.

The FDA is careful to note that there hasn't been an established association between using the digital pill platform and increased patient adherence to their drug regimens.

When the pill is swallowed, a tiny sensor in the pill sends a message to a wearable patch.

About the size of a grain of salt, the sensor has no battery or antenna and is activated when it gets wet from stomach juices.

The digital pill
Digital Health

Regulators in the U.S. have approved the first digital pill with an embedded sensor to track if patients are taking their medication properly, offering a new way of monitoring patients but also raising privacy concerns. Once ingested, the digital pill sends a wireless signal to the patch, which then transmits information to the app and to a companion web portal.

In other words, that old hide-the-pill-under-your-tongue trick will not work here. It also should not be used to track drug ingestion in "real-time" or during an emergency. "Our rollout of the Abilify MyCite system will be done in phases to obtain, and respond to, feedback from healthcare providers and their patients". They can also indicate through the app which members of their care team have access to information about their medication ingestion, activity and self-reported mood and rest.

The pill has not yet been shown to improve patients' medication compliance - a feature insurers are likely to insist on before paying for the pill. However, the medication is geared only for people diagnosed with certain kinds of mental illness.

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how people think, feel, and behave. It's also been approved as a supplemental treatment for adult depression. "The fact that someone might use this computer readout to decide if you are compliant-and that could affect your degree of freedom in society-is an issue that needs to be discussed and debated", she says.

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