First dig­i­tal pill to track pa­tients tak­ing medicine OK’d

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - WEATHER -

WASH­ING­TON » U.S. reg­u­la­tors have ap­proved the first drug with a sen­sor that alerts doc­tors when the med­i­ca­tion has been taken, of­fer­ing a new way of mon­i­tor­ing pa­tients but also rais­ing pri­vacy con­cerns.

The dig­i­tal pill ap­proved Mon­day com­bines two ex­ist­ing prod­ucts: the for­mer block­buster psy­chi­atric med­i­ca­tion Abil­ify — long used to treat schizophre­nia and bipo­lar dis­or­der — with a sen­sor track­ing sys­tem first ap­proved in 2012.

The tech­nol­ogy is in­tended to help pre­vent dan­ger­ous emer­gen­cies that can oc­cur when pa­tients skip their med­i­ca­tion, such as manic episodes ex­pe­ri­enced by those suf­fer­ing from bipo­lar dis­or­der.

But de­vel­op­ers Ot­suka Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Co. and Pro­teus Dig­i­tal Health are likely to face hur­dles. The pill has not yet been shown to ac­tu­ally im­prove pa­tients’ med­i­ca­tion com­pli­ance, a fea­ture in­sur­ers are likely to in­sist on be­fore pay­ing for the pill.

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