By Sofija Jovic, PhD, MBA, clinical psychologist and executive leader, WCG
On November 13, 2017 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Abilify MyCite (aripiprazole tablets with sensor), the first pill to include a digital sensor that tracks if and when it has been ingested. Developed by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, the non-digital form of Abilify was first approved by the FDA in 2002, and has since become the top selling drug in the US. Abilify, and its generic version, aripriprazole, are used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and— in combination with other medications —major depressive disorder. Abilify MyCite combines the traditional pharmaceutical formulation with an ingestible sensor technology, made by Proteus Digital Health, to enable patients and their caregivers to monitor—and ultimately increase—medication adherence and treatment compliance.
Though it has yet to be proven, the digital pill’s potential to improve medication adherence is significant. According to an article published in Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, medication nonadherence poses a substantial public health concern, affecting patients from all socioeconomic backgrounds and disease states. Rates of nonadherence range from 25% to 50%, contributing to poor clinical outcomes and representing $100-$300 billion dollars of avoidable health care costs each year.