Technology continues to make inroads into all the sectors of our life. We have been able to integrate technology as an integral part of health, education, sports transportation, and all the other sectors of our lives and the results are amazing. The latest in this regard is the approval of digital sensor medicines for use in the United States.
There has been an ongoing research for a very long time by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co Ltd. The research is centered on how to input a tracking device in pills, so that they can monitor whether patients are taking their medicines in the proper manner. This yielded results, as the firm came up with the technology in the drug named Abilify, which is a pill for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. The pill comes with a tracking device that was created by the Proteus Digital Health, and US health regulators have approved it.
What Is It and How Is It Used?
Digital sensor medicine systems allow doctors to measure whether their patients are taking the pills on schedule or not. With it, a new system of monitoring medicine compliance is being born in the United States. The prediction is, that soon, there may exist the possibility of applying this in many other therapeutic areas.
Digital sensor medicine systems are expected to be used to monitor and manage the treatments of those people whose medicine routines are far from being simple. This will be good for patients suffering from heart conditions and diabetes. There has been a very huge problem of poor compliance to drug regimes in the US and the world at large. This is more prevalent in patients’ suffering chronic disease, and this system is meant to address it.
The pills are produced with digital sensors that are just about the size of a grain of salt. Whenever the sensor is swallowed, and stomach acids get it wet, the digital sensor becomes activated. With the acid wetness, a circuit is completed between the copper and magnesium coatings on the sides of the medicine and it generates a small electric charge. This electric charge will in turn send a message to a patch that could be worn on the patient’s body. This patch in turn will transmit this information to a mobile app on a smartphone. It is from the smartphone that ingestion of the medicine is tracked by the patient and the doctor.
What the FDA Is Saying About It?
For the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), it will be very useful to track mental-illness patients’ medicine ingestion activities. Be aware, it has not been ascertained if tracking the ingestion of pills has the possibility of making people take their pills. But the sure thing is that it will tell whether the medication was taken or not.
The FDA has given their full-time support to the use of this fresh technology for drug prescriptions and will work with firms to arrive at how it will help the prescribers and their patients. However, it should be noted that the authorization to try out the digital sensor on medicines came only in 2012. But the Abilify schizophrenia pill, which was the first to put the sensor in the pill, has been on the market since 2002.
About the author
Anabel Cooper is a technology editor from Harlow, UK. She has a focus on medical sensors and current and emerging medical technologies, an area that is presented in great depth at Sensors Expo West and in Sensors Online.