Digital Pill – A Medical Miracle Or A Curse?


A big step in medicine – the FDA has approved a digital pill in US for the first time.



How does it work?

The pill is called Abilify MyCite. It has an embedded sensor that allows a doctor to receive electronic data showing the date and time pills are ingested.

It is created to help the patients not to forget takings drugs that lead serious problems. For example, according to experts, in some cases, nonadherence or noncompliance to medication costs about $100 billion a year when the patient needs additional treatment or even hospitalization.

“When patients don’t adhere to lifestyle or medications that are prescribed for them, there are really substantive consequences that are bad for the patient and very costly,” said Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer of the health plan division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.



The end of medical privacy?

Due to the invention, many people are worried about their personal data security. Lucia Savage, chief privacy and regulatory officer at Omada Health Inc., suggested patients and their physicians ask questions like, “How is the data flowing? Where does the signal go? If it goes to somebody’s server, whose server is that? What are the business arrangements?”

It was explained, that patients who decided to take the digital medication will sign consent forms that specify who can get excess to their electronic data including a doctor and some family members. A smartphone app will let them block recipients anytime they change their mind.

Another important issue discussing is a possibility that patient will fill the pressure because of full-time monitoring.

“It creates a looking-over-your-shoulder effect,” Savage said.



A great potential

As experts explain this device will be especially welcomed by people who forget to take pills and people taking finite courses of medication, especially for illnesses like tuberculosis, in which nurses often observe patients taking medicine.

Digital pills are also are useful for monitoring post-surgical patients that may take too much opioid medication.

It could be prescribed to people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and, in conjunction with an antidepressant, a major depressive disorder as well.

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