Digital pill that tracks when patients take their medication approved in US

FDA approves pill with sensor that digitally tracks if patients have ingested their medication

FDA approves pill with sensor that digitally tracks if patients have ingested their medication

United States regulators have approved the first pill that can be digitally tracked through the body.

When the pill is swallowed, a tiny sensor in the pill sends a message to a wearable patch.

The prescribing notes also stress that Abilify MyCite should not be used to track drug ingestion in "real-time" or during an emergency, because detection may be delayed or may not occur.

Mitchell Mathis, from the Food and Drug Administration, said: "Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients".

"The FDA supports the development and use of new technology in prescription drugs and is committed to working with companies to understand how technology might benefit patients and prescribers". Tentatively called Abilify MyCite, this psychiatric medication system has been developed by the Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., and is embedded with ingestible sensors to help diagnose depression and schizophrenia in adults.

In Australia, Abilify is used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and mania in bipolar disorder.

But the digital pill hasn't yet been approved for use here.

While patients could choose not to take the pill, its approval could raise questions about privacy and whether some patients might feel pushed into taking the digital pill.

Andrew Thompson, president and CEO at Proteus Digital Health, said: "The time is right for the category of Digital Medicines to be available to appropriate patients with serious mental illness".

"Consumers already manage important tasks like banking, shopping and communicating with friends and family as they go about their daily lives", he said.