by: Mike Barrett
August 2, 2012
Some excitingly call it the ‘beginning of an era in digital medicine,’ while others view it as a technological movement toward absolute lunacy – despite the positive-sounding advancements. Scientists are moving to put digestible microchips inside of prescription drugs so that your doctor knows if you’re actually taking your medication or not.
Doctors Could Monitor You with Digital Pills
How exactly could these microchips track your medication consumption? The sensor, which is about the size of a grain of sand, generates a voltage in response to digestive juices. The voltage response ultimately transfers a signal to the skins surface, where a patch worn by the person then sends the information to a doctor’s phone.
Although the sensors within the microchip are the first digestible devices actually approved by the FDA, the approval is only based on studies using placebo pills that show it’s safety and efficacy. Of course, digestible microchip creator Proteus would love nothing more than to have the device approved for the massive amounts of pharmaceutical drugs given out today – many of which are taken for a lifetime.
“About half of all people don’t take medications like they’re supposed to. This device could be a solution to that problem, so that doctors can know when to rev up a patient’s medication adherence,” said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla,California. While Topol isn’t affiliated with Proteus Digital Health, the company that manufactures the futuristic device, he embraces what it has to offer, and says“It’s like big brother watching you take your medicine.”