FDA Approves Smart Pills That Digitally Track When Patients Take Their Meds
Abilify MyCite contains a tiny sensor to record the time of ingestion
Health devices have been getting smaller and more sophisticated for years now, and this week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Abilify MyCite, the first pill that is able to record the exact time when a patient takes their medication via an ingestible sensor.
The pill, which is used for the treatment of schizophrenia and certain cases of bipolar disorder and depression in adults, works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch, which then transmits the information to a smartphone app so that patients can automatically track when they’ve taken their medication.
This information can also be accessed by caregivers or physicians through a web-based portal with the permission of the patient, which could be especially helpful for those with a history of going off their medication. The only limitation appears to be with “real-time” tracking, as the pill’s packaging makes clear that there may be a delay between ingestion and when the information is sent to the app.
“Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients,” said Mitchell Mathis, M.D., director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a press release. “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.”