- On June 20, 2018
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- digital, healthcare, pill, technology
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”Carl Sagan
Although it has been on the market for a few years, the existence of the digital pill that detects if you have taken your medication correctly is once again on the news radar. But why is it news again? Federal regulators finally approved its use in the United States in November 2017.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given its approval for its use back in 2002 for specific cases, but it wasn’t until 2012 when legal permission was given for its commercialization.
“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,” said Mitchell Mathis, MD, director of that institution.
The pill was born out of a strategic partnership between Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and Proteus Digital Health. The latter is a technology company that has made great strides in the development of hardware and software for its application in health. Proteus Digital Health designed the sensor that is used for the operation of the “smart” pill.
Patients who use Abilify can have access at any time to an app previously installed on their phones to check the history of their medication intake and at the same time, their treating doctors can access a website to obtain that same information.
The interesting part is that the FDA gave the go-ahead to this digital pill because they detected that schizophrenics, bipolar and depressed patients are prone to forget taking the medication and there is a large percentage of bipolar people who stop taking them when they enter a state of euphoria that leads them to say nothing to relatives or treating doctors, which puts their mental health at risk.
In the presentation of this innovative tool, Andrew Thompson of the company Proteus Digital Health took one of these pills, and with his cell phone in hand he received the notification that he had taken his medication, indicating date and time. It was part of his way of testing live the operation of the smart pill before an audience full of potential buyers, as well as doctors, representatives of distribution of medical products and guests who in one way or another were linked to important firms of the health industry.
The sensor of the pill is activated when it comes in contact with the fluids of the patient’s body and sends a signal to a patch that is placed in the stomach. The most surprising thing is that the pill has been improved and not only does it “know” when the medication has been taken, but it also measures the heart rate and the position of the body.