USA approves digital pill that tracks when patients take it

FDA approves the first pill that can alert your doctor when you swallow it

The US regulator has approved the first digital pill with embedded sensors to track whether patients are taking their medications correctly, marking a significant step forward in the development of healthcare and technology services.

The pill, called Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole tablets with sensor), is designed for patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Mitchell Mathis of the FDA says officials support "use of new technology in prescription drugs and is committed to working with companies to understand how the new technology might benefit patients and prescribers".

Should prescribes take to Abilify MyCite, the new formulation could help Abilify's maker Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

What are some potentially unsafe risks of Abilify MyCite?

Patients would be able to track their dosage on their smartphone and allow their doctors access through a website.

The system in the drug offers an objective way to measure whether patients have taken their pills on schedule, which opens up new ways to monitor treatment compliance that can be applied in other therapeutic cases. And the drug shouldn't be used in an attempt to track "real-time" ingestion, since detection could be delayed, the agency added.

In clinical trials establishing the efficacy of aripiprazole, the most common adverse events were nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache, dizziness, uncontrollable limb and body movements (akathisia), anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness.

Abilify MyCite is not approved to treat patients with dementia-related psychosis and contains a boxed warning alerting health care professionals that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. The sensor in Ability MyCite syncs with a smart phone and sends an alert when the medication is ingested via a patch that is worn on the surface of the skin. A report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics estimates that the cost of patients not taking their medication correctly is about $100 billion each year. The sensor technology and patch are made by Proteus Digital Health, in Redwood City, Calif.

The FDA approval for Abilify MyCite's pill could lead the way for other electronic pills to become available that'll be able to treat other health issues.

Related news: