In what could be a game changer in health industry, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first ever drug tracker pill.
"Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients", said Mitchell Mathis, director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
The new ingestible tracking device has been approved for use in at least one popular prescription drug thus far, but many more could follow.
The FDA recently approved Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co Ltd's Abilify MyCite. "Abilify MyCite should not be used to track drug ingestion in "real-time" or during an emergency because detection may be delayed or may not occur".
The wearable patch was developed by California-based Proteus Digital Health. Doctors and health care providers have to get your permission first to track the data.much like those opt-in auto insurance tracking devices customers can get discounts for if they install the device in their cars.
"It is important to note that Abilify MyCite's prescribing information (labeling) notes that the ability of the product to improve patient compliance with their treatment regimen has not been shown".
The sensor itself is about the size of a grain of sand.
In other words, that old hide-the-pill-under-your-tongue trick will not work here.
The technology carries risks for patient privacy too if there are breaches of medical data or unauthorised use as a surveillance tool, according to James Giordano, a professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Centre.
USA regulators have approved the first drug with a sensor that alerts doctors when the medication has been taken, offering a new way of monitoring patients but also raising privacy concerns.
People who meet the criteria for Abilify MyCite can decide, along with their doctors and caregivers, whether this type of medication monitoring might help them manage their disease.
Taking a significant step in the field of healthcare and technology, United States has given approval for a "digital pill".
But people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can also have impaired executive functions, including short-term memory, and may forget to take-or forget if they've taken-their medication for the day. 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".