FDA approves first drug with tracking system; technology being tested at SSM Health Clinic

FDA approves first drug with tracking system; technology being tested at SSM Health Clinic

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug in the U.S. with a digital ingestion tracking system. It offers a new way for doctors to monitor patients’ medication compliance.

The medication, called Abilify McCite, combines two products; a treatment for schizophrenia and a sensor.

The sensor is activated by stomach fluids and sends a signal to a patch worn by the patient. The patch communicates with an app on the patient’s smartphone or tablet.

This allows patients to track their dosage and their doctor or caregiver to view the tracked data.

“We know in real time whether they’re taking their medication properly or not, and to also have the ability (to remind them) if patients forget,” said Eric Huckins, pharmacy supervisor at SSM Health Dean Medical Group clinic.

The clinic is using the same technology from the same manufacturer and combining it with other medications in a trail.

Huckins said he believes patients with hepatitis C would benefit from the technology, since they have a good chance of being cured with medication.

“We’re looking at our highest-risk patients, some patients that, if they miss a few doses, it could impact their entire therapy,” he said.

Huckins said patient compliance and adherence is one of the most important factors in keeping patients healthy.

But the monitoring system is also raising privacy concerns.

“It’s a big looming question: Is this George Orwell’s Big Brother that’s able to know when we take it?” said Huckins “But with this technology, I anticipate it’s going to be more of a tool that we offer patients.”

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