The system works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved use of an ingested “smart pill” to track how and when patients take medication.

The FDA granted the approval of Abilify MyCite to Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. The sensor technology and patch are made by Proteus Digital Health.

The system works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch.

The Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole tablets with sensor) has an ingestible sensor embedded in the pill that records that the medication was taken. The product is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder and for use as an add-on treatment for depression in adults, says the FDA.

The system works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch. The patch transmits the information to a mobile application so that patients can track the ingestion of the medication on their smart phone. Patients can also permit their caregivers and physician to access the information through a web-based portal.

“Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients,” says Dr. Mitchell Mathis, director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The FDA supports the development and use of new technology in prescription drugs and is committed to working with companies to understand how technology might benefit patients and prescribers.”

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Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder impacting about 1% of the population. Typically, symptoms are first seen in adults younger than 30 years of age. Symptoms of those with schizophrenia include hearing voices, believing other people are reading their minds or controlling their thoughts, and being suspicious or withdrawn. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is another brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder include alternating periods of depression and high or irritable mood, increased activity and restlessness, racing thoughts, talking fast, impulsive behavior and a decreased need for sleep.

Abilify MyCite contains a warning alerting healthcare professionals that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death.

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