The next time your doctor asks you to open up and say “ahhhh,” don’t be surprised if it’s so she can have you swallow a digital pill. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug in the United States that comes with a digital ingestion tracking system. The pill will let doctors ensure that patients are taking the medications prescribed to them, which is particularly useful for patients with mental illness.
Abilify MyCite was developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical and is an updated version of the drug Abilify, which is used to treat schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar 1 disorder. The new pill comes with an ingestible sensor, made by Proteus Digital health, which earned FDA approval back in 2012. The digital tracker “works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch,” the FDA said in a statement.
The sensor is intended to improve patient compliance by recording that the medication was taken. Data from the patch sends the information to a mobile app, which can be monitored by patients, caregivers, and physicians via web portal.
“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,” Dr. Mitchell Mathis, director of the division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.