The FDA Just Approved a Pill With Sensors in It For the First Time Ever
The era of digital pills is here. This week, for the first time ever, the Food and Drug Administration approved a pill with sensors inside to inform doctors how often the drug was taken.
In a press release to Gizmodo, the FDA said atypical anti-psychotic drug Abilify MyCite was the first medication it had approved with a "digital ingestion tracking system" to record whether the drug was actually ingested.
"The product is approved for the treatment of
In the release, the FDA noted that while it had approved Abilify MyCite, "the ability of the product to improve patient compliance with their treatment regimen has not been shown." It added that detection may be imperfect as "detection may be delayed or may not occur."
The pill generates an electrical signal when splashed with stomach acid and contains copper, magnesium, and silicon, which are "safe ingredients found in foods," the New York Times noted. Patients have to sign a consent form before any data is shared.
There's good reasons as to why tracking whether people living with schizophrenia take their medication could be helpful. People with the disorder face an undue amount of social stigma-mostly due to an
unfair popular perception
that they're violent ticking time bombs-but it's still a severe condition that without treatment can lead to negative outcomes like substance abuse or
victimization by others
. Antipsychotic medications are relatively
safe and effective
, and treatment is important for the
However, it's also not hard to see how this
Columbia University director of law, ethics and psychiatry Dr. Paul Appelbaum told the New York Times he also wondered whether schizophrenia was a good place to start, given it is associated with paranoid delusions.
"A system that will monitor their behavior and send signals out of their body and notify their doctor?" he asked. "You would think that, whether in psychiatry or general
Either way, hey,