Approved the use of the first digital pill that will tell your doctor if you take it or not
The United States Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, has approved the use of the first digital pill. It is a medicine to which a digestible sensor has been added with which you can detect when patients take it, and in this way the doctors know that they are taking the correct medication.
As published by the New York Times, it is the first of several medications that are being developed with the ability to monitor how they are taken. With this, they want to react to information that assures that non-compliance with prescriptions costs US health care close to $ 100 billion a year due to deterioration caused by not taking the corresponding medication.
"When patients don't adhere to the lifestyle or medications they are prescribed, there really are substantial consequences that are very costly and bad for the patient," Dr. William Shrank, medical director of the division, has told the Times of health plans from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Therefore, with the approval of this new drug, a new system will begin to be tested that, according to some experts, has the potential to improve public health by making patients unable to lie about whether or not they take the medication. Although of course, this also raises certain concerns.
Dad, did you take the pill?
The approved medication is a version of the antipsychotic Aripiprazole (Abilify), and is used for the treatment of schizophrenia, the acute manic phase and mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder, and clinical depression.
The medication sensors will emit the date and time when they are ingested. When patients approve taking them, with the forms that they will have to fill out, they will allow their doctors and up to four other people, for example their relatives, to receive electronic data on how and when the medication is being taken.
This will be known through a mobile application so that both the patient and users with access permission can view the record of taking the medication. All this is voluntary, so that the patient can revoke the access of the rest to the application if he changes his mind and does not want to continue being monitored. Although of course, it will be necessary to see once it is tested if it fulfills all these promises.
This is only the first approved medication of this nature, but others with other types of sensors are already being worked on. For example, there are companies that include other digestible sensors capable, for example, of knowing in which area of the tongue the pill has been placed when swallowing it.
The first debates begin to emerge
Despite the fact that this type of technology is very promising for all types of patients and illnesses, the fact that it is voluntary does not prevent it from raising several alarms around privacy. The most alarmist talk about a digital Big Brother in the world of medication, while others point out how this can make patients feel pressured.
And it is that although a priori the idea seems good for those who do not want to take medications, it should not be forgotten that this first digital medicine is intended for disorders such as schizophrenia. At this point, there are those who question whether a solution of this nature is accepted by patients.
And is that according to what the experts have told the Times, some patients do not take their Aripiprazole because they become paranoid about the doctor's intentions. And this is something that a medication that controls your behavior and sends signals from your body and notifications to the doctor is hardly going to help.
Come on, that much of the controversy is in the drug with which it has been decided to start marketing this type of technology, and experts believe that it would have been better to use it in any other type of medication. Be that as it may, the medicines with monitoring are only taking their first steps, so the implicit debates such as the one on privacy will increase as more medicines of this nature arrive.