FDA approves ingestible sensor for medication adherence monitoring

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Big Doctor is watching you — to make sure you're taking your drugs as prescribed, that is.

It's not dystopian, but it sure sounds like the stuff of science fiction: The Food and Drug Administration approved Monday a tiny, ingestible sensor that can be integrated into drugs to monitor patients' prescription drug adherence.

The sensor, made by Proteus Digital Health, is powered by contact with stomach fluid and works by transmitting a signal that determines the identity and timing of a drug's ingestion to a patch worn on the skin. The patch then transmits the information to a mobile app, which can be accessed by clinicians and caregivers. The patch also collects such data as heart rate, body position and activity.

"The FDA validation represents a major milestone in digital medicine," Scripps Research Institute genomics professor Eric Topol said. "Directly digitizing pills, for the first time, in conjunction with our wireless infrastructure, may prove to be the new standard for influencing medication adherence and significantly aid chronic disease management."


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