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This trackable pill has just been approved by US health regulators

Big news for the health industry: US regulators have approved a pill that can be digitally tracked through the body using an ingestible sensor and a patch worn by patients.

Used to treat schizophrenia and manic episodes, the Abilify MyCite aripiprazole tablet records whether the medication has been taken to ensure the patient is sticking to their regimtented treatment plan.

The information is sent directly to their smartphone – Android or iOS – and can also be transmitted to the prescribing doctor, if the patient provides their consent using the accompanying application.

There are a couple of caveats, though. The pill is not licensed for use by elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis. It also should not be used to track drug ingestion in “real-time” or during an emergency.

The sensor itself is about the size of a grain of sand. It automatically activates when it comes into contact with stomach fluid, though it can take anywhere from half an hour to two hours to detect ingestion.

“Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients,” said Mitchell Mathis, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a statement issued to the BBC.

“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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