The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new sensor that can be swallowed by patients who have a hard time remembering to take medication. The sensor communicates directly with the mobile devices of caregivers, letting family members know when the medicine was taken each day.
“Directly digitizing pills, for the first time, in conjunction with our wireless infrastructure, may prove to be the new standard for influencing medication adherence and significantly aid chronic disease management,” said Dr. Eric Topol, professor of genomics at The Scripps Research Institute.
The microchip is inserted into a pill and is activated by the body’s stomach fluids. It communicates the time of ingestion by sending a signal through the body tissue to a patch worn on the skin. The patch records ingestion time, as well as heart rate and body position, and sends this information to a mobile app. Some patients will almost certainly use the technology to monitor their own pill-taking. With patient consent, the information can be sent to other people as well.
The ingestible sensor, which has already been approved in Europe, was developed by Proteus Digital Health of Redwood City, California. “We are very much looking forward to bringing the benefits of our ingestible sensor to the American public in the form of innovative product offerings,” said Dr. George Savage, one of the company’s co-founders.
Proteus has been developing the digital pill since 2008. Funders of the privately held company include The Carlyle Group, Essex Woodlands, Kaiser Permanente, Medtronic, Novartis, Otsuka, and ON Semiconductor.
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