Health | Did You Know

FDA Approves New "Digital Pills" That Talk To Your Doctors, Despite Privacy Concerns

One of the biggest problems doctors will tell you about is patients not taking their medication properly. They either take the wrong dose or don't take it at all, which can become a serious situation if the medication is life-saving.

Patients also have a habit of providing their doctors with false information, which could lead to problems in the future and misdiagnosis.

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But now, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first digital pill, which can provide dosage information and personal health stats directly to your doctors.

So how does it work?

The pill, called Abilify MyCite, contains a small sensor which synchronizes with a tiny patch worn by the patient. The sensor is made of silicon, copper, and magnesium and is activated when it touches the stomach acid. It sends an electrical signal to the patch, which then sends data to a select few people. The sensor is then passed naturally.

The information is uploaded to an app, and the patient can choose who has access to their data. Up to four people can be given access, such as doctors or family, and it can be revoked at any given time. The sensor records dosage, activity levels, sleeping patterns, steps taken, and heart rate, and must be replaced every seven days.

Abilfy is a drug used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, meaning the information surrounding the way mental health affects patients and is treated by doctors will be more available for research.

Ameet Sarpatwari, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, says the digital pill "has the potential to improve public health. [But] if used improperly, it could foster more mistrust instead of trust.”

The biggest concern people have about this new pill is the potential for breach of privacy, as well as misuse by authorities. There's worry that patients who don't comply with the doctor recommendations will feel as though they are being punished or babied.

There's no cost associated with the pill yet, but the company is trying to work with some insurers to see who will cover it and to what extent.

Would you try a digital pill if it meant more accurate information given to your doctor?

Meagan has an intense love for Netflix, napping, and carbs. If you have a comment about one of Meagan's articles feel free to contact Tristan@shared.com