New digital pill on the horizon

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by Brandy Aguilar, Special projects

azfamily.com

Posted on August 6, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 6 at 4:20 PM

PHOENIX -- Ever panic wondering if you remembered to take your medication? A new digital pill might be able to help you keep track.

“The issue of compliance with medication, particularly when you go through all the trouble of diagnosing someone with something, to find out they're taking the right medication in a safe way at the right time is critical,” said Dr. Al Borhan with Affiliated Urologists.

Not taking prescribed medication can be harmful. But the craziness of daily life makes some people forget.

“I'm not only a healthcare provider, but as a patient I can tell you that with my busy schedule, I tend to miss a couple of the pills I have to take,” Borhan said. “And then I have that dilemma, ‘Do I take two of the pill the next time I was supposed to take it?’ ‘Is that even good for me?'”

A new ingestible sensor might be able to solve that dilemma. It’s made by Proteus Digital Health and was just given the green light by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“The sensor allows the people who are monitoring it to know if you took the pill because it reacts when it mixes with your digestive juices,” Borhan continued.

A microchip is embedded into a placebo pill that's to be taken at the same time you take your medication. The information of when you took your dose is recorded and transmitted to a patch that is placed on your skin, which in turn sends data to a mobile phone application for you and your doctor.

“This is one more way to make sure that they're getting the best care possible,” Borhan said.

It's not about getting a patient in trouble.    

“It's to say, how I can help you take your medication on time?” Borhan said.

This device was approved in Europe two years ago. No word on when it will be available in the U.S.
 

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