FDA approves pill that tracks its ingestion

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Food and Drug Administration approved the first medication that tracks whether you took it.

The new medication is aripiprazole (Abilify) that has an ingestible sensor added and is marketed as Abilify MyCite by Otsuka Pharmaceutical. The medication is meant for the treatment of several mental illnesses.

The pill’s sensor sends a message to a wearable patch, and the patch transmits the information to a mobile app, so patients can track the ingestion of the medication on a mobile device, such as a smartphone. According to a report in The New York Times, patients can allow doctors and up to four others to have access to the data.

According to the Times, patients who don’t take their medication pose a big problem. However, FDA notes that Otsuka hasn’t shown that the new medication improves compliance with treatment regimens. FDA also says the medication shouldn’t be used to track ingestion in “real time.”

No price was disclosed, so we don’t know whether the addition of the sensor results in a higher price. Side effects—including so-called Boxed Warnings about an increased risk of death in elderly patients and suicidal thinking in children and young adults—for the new medication are the same as they are for aripiprazole. These include nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache and dizziness. The new medication adds skin irritation at the site of the wearable patch as a possible side effect.