Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

How Do Doctors Know If You Aren’t Taking Medication?

Dec 18 2017 Read 1013 Times

Thanks to a new development approved by the Food and Drug Administration, troublesome patients could soon be a thing of the past. At least when it comes to getting them to swallow pills. In a recent announcement the FDA confirmed that it has approved a pill that actively alerts doctors or caregivers when it's been swallowed.

Using ingestible sensors to track the pill's path

A joint venture from Silicon Valley based company Proteus Digital Health and Japanese drug manufacturer Otsuka Pharmaceutical, the advanced sensor technology will be marketed as Abilify MyCite. Just like any other pill it can be easily swallowed. However, it's also equipped with an ingestible sensor that relays a message to an external patch worn by the patient. This then transmits data to a mobile app which can be accessed by patients, doctors and caregivers alike. While the FDA rejected the product just 18 months ago, representatives how now confirmed that precious concerns over ethics and human error have been dealt with.

A breakthrough treatment for schizophrenia

So what will Abilify MyCite be used to treat? According to the statement the product is approved for the treatment of mental health conditions like schizophrenia, as well as manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. It can also be used as an add-on treatment for depression. Patients suffering from mental illnesses have a track record of failing to consistently take medication, which means Abilify MyCite could emerge as a ground-breaking new solution.

“Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients,” comments Mitchell Mathis, director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “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.”

The rise of "digital therapeutics"

For the pharmaceuticals industry it marks an exciting step forward. The landmark approval builds on a recent FDA decision to approve a mobile app as a bona fide treatment for certain substance use disorders. Developed by the Boston based company Pear Therapeutics, the app draws on cognitive behavioural therapy and is designed to be prescribed alongside counselling.

"This is the moment for digital therapeutics," muses Corey McCann, founder and CEO of Pear Therapeutics.

For a closer look at the latest pharmaceuticals advancements don't miss 'Pushing the Limits of Speed and Sensitivity in Drug Screening – an LC-MS solution.'

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