The US Food and Drug Administration recently granted approval to a psychiatric medication system in the form of a pill with an in-built digital tracking device.
Made in Japan, Abilify MyCite, a form of aripiprazole, has an embedded ingestible sensor that records the time of medication ingestion and is intended to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression in adults. The drug without sensor technology was approved to treat schizophrenia in 2002.
The sensor is the size of a grain and sends a message referred to as ‘ingestible event marker’ to a patch worn on the patient’s skin. The sensor is made up of ingredients found in food. It is activated after coming in contact with the fluids in stomach and is then digested and eliminated from the body.
The wearable patch was developed by a California-based Digital Health company. After recording the date and time of the ingestion, it detects the physiological data, such as physical activity level. The patch communicates all of this to the MyCite App on a compatible device.
With this FDA approval, the drug can help individuals with serious mental illness to involve with their care team about their treatment plan in an innovative way. It can also aid people with schizophrenia to take medications if they forget.
Some people may feel wary of ingesting a sensor. Although, the system provides an opportunity to passively extract digital data and this can be critical in improving health. This new technology provides a means to obtain more focused and precise information regarding medication adherence.