A new advance in medical technology could change the way we take medication.
Introducing: The digital pill.
The FDA just approved the new technology. Otsuka Pharmaceutical says a sensor in the pill, the size of a grain of sand, will be able to tell doctors if patients take the medication. Their "digital pill" is the first of its kind.
“The sensor will communicate information to the patch, notifying whoever the patient has released authorization to – that the patient has taken the medication," said Sarah Groen, a pharmacist with Health Partners.
According to Groen, there are a couple of reasons why people don’t take their medication.
“They get busy with their lifestyle – it gets hard to remember, especially if they have to take multiple medications," she said. "The other is the cost of medication. We have seen a dramatic increase in the price of rx and that has made it difficult for patients to afford the medication they need.”
So how does this digital pill work? The technology is paired with a medication that's used to treat patients with mental illness.
“Often times in mental health conditions there are patients who are nonadherent with medication.”
Groen says the cost of not taking a prescription is huge - as are the benefits of taking it.
“You can improve their quality of life, reduce hospitalizations," she said.
There are a lot of tools available now to people who have a difficult time remembering to take their medication.
“Using things like alarms on cell phones, pill boxes to help them remember, tie taking their medication to a certain event like breakfast, dinner or with a bedtime routine," she said.
Critics of the new technology say they are concerned with what else companies might be able to track.