A pill that can be digitally tracked through the body has been approved for the first time in the US.
Abilify MyCite aripiprazole pills, which are used to treat schizophrenia and manic episodes, have an ingestible sensor inside them that records when they are taken.
The drug was first approved by the FDA in 2002 and the ingestible sensor was approved for marketing in 2012.
According to the FDA, the digitally enhanced medication “works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch.”
The patch then transmits the information to the user’s smartphone and information can be sent to their doctor if they wish.
The FDA hopes the new pill will help ensure patients with mental disorders take their medication.
Dr. Mitchell Mathis, director of the division of psychiatry products at the FDA, said: “Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients.”
“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.”
The drug can also be used to treat depression.
It is not approved for use in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.
The FDA also notes that the ability of the drug to improve patients compliance with taking their medication has not been proven.
Schizophrenia is a severe, long-term health condition which leaves sufferers unable to distinguish their own thoughts from reality.
Doctors often describe the mental illness as a type of psychosis — which is sometimes triggered by drug abuse or stress.
Psychosis causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them, which can involve hallucinations and “hearing voices.”
It can also include the sufferer having delusions, which is when they have a strong belief that isn’t shared by others.
Often this can be believing that someone is conspiring to harm them.
It is normally treated with a combination of medication and therapy.
Community mental health teams also offer day-to-day help and support and treatment.
Many people recover from schizophrenia but can experience relapses if it’s not managed.