People who usually forget to take their medication may no longer need to remind themselves, especially now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an ingestible microchip.
The smart pill was created by Proteus Digital Health, and it is designed to monitor someone’s health from the inside. It is equipped with a microchip that keeps track of an individual’s insides and relays medical information to its healthcare provider.
As posted on their official Press Release:
The ingestible sensor (formally referred to as the Ingestion Event Marker or IEM) is part of the Proteus digital heath feedback system, an integrated, end-to-end personal health management system that is designed to help improve patients’ health habits and connections to caregivers.
Prior to this, FDA has only approved the device to be used with placebo pills. This is to test the digestible microchip’s safety and if it actually works. Since 2008, Proteus has collaborated with the FDA to determine the regulatory pathway for this innovation. The IEM is processed in accordance with the de novo provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for low-risk devices, which have no predicate on the market.
With the administration’s validation, Proteus hopes that they will be able to implement the smart pill with real medications soon.
How Proteus’ Smart Pill Works
Proteus’ microchip is a silicon wafer that has traced amounts of magnesium and copper. The chip, which is not bigger than a grain of sand, can be integrated into an inert pill or other ingested products. It will be able to generate electricity once it is ingested and had made contact with the stomach’s digestive fluids.
Once activated, it will then send a signal to a patch found on the patient’s skin. In turn, the patch will relay medical information to the healthcare provider’s mobile phone. The ingestible microchip can send information about the patient’s heart rate, body position, and activity to a doctor or nurse.
Once Proteus’ ingestible microchip is implemented, this technology could help “individuals develop and sustain healthy habits, families to make better health choices, and clinicians to provide more effective, data-driven care.”
Although a chip that will remind a person to take his or her medicine may sound unnecessary, patients with chronic disease will find it beneficial. The smart pill will also be useful to people who need to take various medications at different times of the day. However, this technology sounds scary at the same time.