US approves first pill with digital tracking device

US regulators have approved the first pill that contains a digital tracking sensor to alert doctors and caregivers as to whether a patient is taking a medication as scheduled.

The pill, called Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole tablets with sensor), is designed for patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

A patient ingests the pill, and a sensor inside the pill activates when it reaches the stomach fluids, sending a message to a wearable patch.

This patch then transmits the information to a mobile app, so that a doctor and up to four caregivers, friends or family members can see the information through a web-based portal.

Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients, said Mitchell Mathis, director of the division of psychiatry products in the FDAs Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a statement Monday afternoon.

The FDA

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