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Are "smart" pills the future of medication?

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 8:48am
Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor

 Have trouble remembering to take your meds?

 Only about 50 percent of people take medication according to a doctor’s recommendation, according to the World Health Organization. Luckily, some companies are now developing “smart” meds to track your prescription habits.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently cleared a digestible sensor, created by Proteus Digital Health, for use as a medical device.  

Basically, the ingestible sensor is placed in a pill or other pharmaceutical. Once the device reaches the stomach, it is powered by contact with stomach fluid, which causes the senor to send out a signal containing information about the identity of the pill and when it was ingested. That information is then stored in a patch worn on the skin and eventually makes its way to a mobile app. Additionally, the sensor collects information about heart rate, body position, and activity. The company hopes the data will allow for better patient care if patients share it with their doctors.

It’s a little bit freaky to think about—tiny sensors in your stomach? Can we say Alien?—but it could be a great way to gather information about medication and hopefully help doctors come up with better solutions so patients are actually taking the medication that’s going to help them. It’s definitely an interesting foray into the marriage of the digital world and the medical world.

Would you use a "smart" medication? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


 

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