‘Trackable’ pill approved in US

A ‘trackable’ pill has been approved in the US by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA].


The Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole) tablets, developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, are used for treating schizophrenia and manic episodes. When the pill is dissolved by stomach acid, an electrical signal is activated and sent to a patch worn by the user. This will then send the data to their smartphones.


There is also the option to send relevant medical details to the prescribing doctors and four family members if consent is given by the patient.


This is the first digital pill to be approved and used by patients. Experts believe this will improve patient compliance and ensure they are taking their medicine. However, the company has not yet proven this.


Source: Proteus Digital Health


Some are worried this is the onset of new ways to monitor and abuse privacy.


Ameet Sarpatwari, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, said to the New York Times, “The pill has the potential to improve public health” but, “if used improperly, it could foster more mistrust instead of trust.”


Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd has stressed how unreliable the timing of the data sent may be. Delays can be anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours before ingestion is detected. Sometimes the app won’t detect ingestion at all and, if this happens, the company stresses not to take another dose.


Source: Wikimedia Commons


Mitchell Mathis, director of the Division of Psychiatry Products, said: “Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients. 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.”


Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis are not licensed to consume the medication.


There hasn’t been any word on if the tablets will be prescribed in other countries.

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