The Food and Drug Administration has approved a smart pill that digitally tracks whether it is being taken as scheduled.
Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole) tablets are antipsychotics primarily used in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and episodes of mania. It has also been used as a an “add-on treatment in major depressive disorder, tic disorders, and irritability associated with autism.” Representing nearly $7 billion dollars in drug sales, it is a widely used treatment for very serious long-term mental health issues.
Unfortunately, those who need it most are also more likely not to take it. Studies show that treatment “non-adherence,” while difficult to track, is a real problem. “Almost half” of schizophrenic and schizoaffective disorder patients “take less than 70% of prescribed doses.”
Abilify MyCite addresses this problem with a sensor no larger than a grain of sand, which sends a signal to a patch worn on the patient’s body as soon as it comes into contact with stomach acids. That signal can then be communicated to the patient’s physician, giving them the capability to make sure their most vulnerable patients are keeping up with the treatments that allow them to lead their healthiest lives.
In a statement, the FDA’s Mitchell Mathis 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.
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