FDA Approves First Digital Pill

A pill called Abilify MyCite is the first of its kind that can track whether patients have taken their medication and improve compliance.

Digital Pill / Image: Proteus
Digital Pill / Image: Proteus

A November 14th article from The Verge reported the FDA’s approval of the first digital pill for the US. The pill is called Abilify MyCite and it’s fitted with a tiny sensor that communicates with a patch worn by the patient. Medical data from the patch is transmitted to a smartphone app that the patient can voluntarily upload for their doctor to see. The sensor is the size of a grain of sand and comprised of silicone, magnesium, and copper.

When the sensor comes in contact with stomach acid, an electrical signal is activated and sent to a patch on the patient’s left rib cage. The patch collects data relative to activity levels, sleeping patterns, steps taken, activity, and heart rate. This data can be viewed by the patient’s doctor and up to four other people chosen by the patient. The groundbreaking technology is the result of years of research between the Japanese pharmaceutical company Otsuka and Proteus Digital Health. The former developed the pill, while the latter created the sensor.

The development does not come without concerns, however. Some experts have expressed concerns regarding patient privacy, and fear that non-compliance could result in patients being punished.

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