Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Research | By Derrick Holloway

FDA approves first 'trackable' pill Abilify

FDA approves first 'trackable' pill Abilify

13, 2017, the FDA approved the first drug in the United States with a digital ingestion tracking system, in an unprecedented move to ensure that patients with mental illness take the medicine prescribed for them.

The pill, called Abilify MyCite, adds a tiny sensor, no larger than a grain of sand, made of silicon, copper, and magnesium inside a tablet of Abilify, a drug used to treat mental disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and is used in conjunction with antidepressants to treat depression.

What are some potentially unsafe risks of Abilify MyCite?

Once a patient swallows the pill a sensor sends a message to a wearable patch.

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Of the many hurdles drugmakers face - mastering complex science, navigating regulations, crafting successful marketing campaigns - patient adherence remains one of the most hard to clear. A report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics estimates that the cost of patients not taking their medication correctly is about $100 billion each year.

Technology has been a vital tool for manufacturers and healthcare providers looking to improve patient adherence.

In the long run, such digital pills can also be used to manage patients with other complicated treatment routines, such as diabetes or heart conditions.

"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", Dr. Mitchell Mathis, director of the division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

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Abilify MyCite's future isn't certain, however.

Abilify MyCite hasn't been proven to improve patient compliance with taking medication on a prescribed schedule, the FDA stressed. Whether this new drug-device combo will actually prop up adherence is also quite unclear.

According to the news release, the FDA granted the approval of Abilify MyCite to Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Using Abilify MyCite to track drug use in real time or in the event of an emergency is not ideal, however, as there may be a delay or problem in the detection.

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Providing they sign a consent form, patients can allow up to four other people, including their doctors, caregivers, and family members, to access the data via a web-based portal.

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