In an unprecedented step to ensure that patients with mental disorders take the medicine prescribed for them, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug in the United States with a digital ingestion tracking system. The drug Abilify MyCite was developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Abilify was first approved by the FDA in 2002 to treat schizophrenia, and the ingestible sensor, made by Proteus Digital Health, was initially approved for marketing in 2012, the AP reports. The FDA says the digitally enhanced medication "works by sending a message from the pill's sensor to a wearable patch," which sends data to a smartphone app that can be accessed by doctors and patients.
The patch that the pill communicates with can also track activity levels and sleep patterns. Dr. Mitchell Mathis of the FDA says officials support the "use of new technology in prescription drugs and [are] committed to working with companies to understand how the new technology might benefit patients and prescribers." The tiny chip inside the pill contains minerals including silicon and copper that end up passing through a patient's digestive tract normally, the Wall Street Journal reports. Proteus Chief Executive Andrew Thompson says the chip is completely safe to consume and contains no more silicon than a banana.
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