FDA approves first digital pill, a drug that comes with ingestible sensor

Posted November 16, 2017

Schizophrenia drug Abilify MyCite becomes the first drug approved in the USA with a sensor that digitally tracks if patients have ingested their medication.

The newly approved pill is called Abilify MyCite, and it's created to sense when patients have taken their dose of Abilify, an antipsychotic that is commonly used to treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The FDA said in a statement on Monday that the digital pill "works by sending a message from the pill's sensor to a wearable patch". Also, patients can give their physicians or caregiver's permission to access this data through a web-based portal.

"Being able to track the ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients", he said. For instance, patients could feel pressured to use the brand-name digital tracking drugs by doctors or insurance companies.

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Big news for the health industry: USA regulators have approved a pill that can be digitally tracked through the body using an ingestible sensor and a patch worn by patients. It also should not be used to track drug ingestion in "real-time" or during an emergency. Called the Abilify MyCite, the pill comes with sensors that basically indicate if patients just took their medication, Futurism reports.

The information that the sensors can send out can include the dosage, the exact time when the pill was taken, and even what the patient was doing at the time.

It might sound creepy, but United States regulators have approved a drug that can digitally track whether patients have taken their medicine.

The sensor activates when the pill gets wet in the patient's stomach. It is also not approved for use in pediatric patients, and may increase suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults.

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The pill, with an embedded sensor, will track patients timings in while taking medicines.

Abilify MyCite's labeling notes that the ability of the product to improve patients' compliance with their treatment regimen has not been shown. The pill is created to track if patients are taking their medication.

It's aimed at people who are being treated for schizophrenia and as an add-on treatment for adults suffering with depression. The pill is one way to address the prevalent problem of patients not taking their medication correctly, with the IMS Institute estimating that the improper and unnecessary use of medicine cost the USA healthcare sector over $200 billion in 2012. However, Abilify MyCite is the only version now approved with the digital tracking system.

"With this FDA approval, Otsuka can help enable individuals with serious mental illness to engage with their care team about their treatment plan in a new way", he added.

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