How does a new medication use tech to keep track of when you take it?

Answer: With sensors embedded in the pills.

by / November 15, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Monday approved the U.S.’ first digitally tracked medication, according to an FDA news release.

Called Abilify MyCite, the medication is an antipsychotic that is prescribed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The technology involves a combination of sensors in each pill and a patch worn on the patient’s skin over their ribcage. The sensors are composed of copper, magnesium and silicon. When taken, the acids in the patient’s stomach activate an electric signal from the sensor. The patch picks up the signal and relays the data to an app on the patient’s smartphone. At the patient’s discretion, the data in the app can be shared with family or their doctor.

If successful, this tech has the potential for many applications in improving the administration of medicines. It could help ensure that people who might have trouble remembering to take their pills, such as elderly patients, don’t underdose or overdose. It might also be used to keep track of opioid medications to prevent addictions.