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Ingestible sensor gets FDA approval

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August 1, 2012

The IEM helps patients and doctors monitor medicine-taking behavior (Photo: Dvortygirl)

The IEM helps patients and doctors monitor medicine-taking behavior (Photo: Dvortygirl)

Taking a pill seems like the easiest thing in the world. Pill, glass of water and swallow, right? For many people, however, it isn’t that simple. For them, it’s very easy to take the incorrect dosage at the incorrect time. To help prevent this, Proteus Digital Health of Redwood City, California has developed an ingestible chip that can be embedded in pills and other pharmaceuticals.

Taking pills on a regular basis requires a lot of discipline or a really obsessive use of text alerts. Many modern medicines can’t do their job properly if they’re not taken at the correct time, in the correct dosages and in the correct manner. Unfortunately, over half of all patients don’t follow their prescriptions consistently.

Many patients, such as cancer sufferers, transplant recipients and those with HIV must take batteries of medicines that are hard to keep track of. For the elderly, failing memories make it just as difficult. They make errors or fall into bad habits and don’t get the full benefit of their pharmaceuticals. This is where Proteus Digital Health’s ingestible sensor comes in.

The sensor, called the Ingestion Event Marker (IEM), is a sensor chip that can be embedded in a pill and then swallowed by the patient. When the chip reaches the stomach, the stomach fluids start powering it and the chip sends out an ID signal complete with time stamp. This is picked up by a special patch worn by the patient. The patch notes the ID and time stamp, and wirelessly transmits this to a mobile phone application along with data collected directly by the patch such as heart rate, body position and activity.

This information can, with the patient’s consent, be shared with doctors and other caregivers to see if the medication has been taken in at the right time, place and manner and to help the patient develop healthier habits.

On July 30th, Proteus received FDA approval for the IEM system, allowing it to be marketed in the U.S.

Source: Proteus Digital Health

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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1 Comment

Like most well intentioned things, this little wonder is fraught with opportunities for "Bureaucratic 'Misadventure' ". Obviously the need for the "Patch" sized antenna is the stumbling point right now and one that will be eventually resolved - most likely sooner rather than later. The likelihood of this technology being misused, whether intentionally or accidentally, is enormous. Not only the "Hackability" [my coinage] prospect comes to mind, but it's with the looming advent of "The Affordable Health Care Law" that it raises the hackles on the back of my neck. "Oh bosh and bother" say you? After all, "It's only for your own good" which is another prize winner we've all heard throughout the ages. Imagine where your precious "Right To Privacy" will go when everyone will be prescribed the " ... little red pill, or the little blue pill" that President Obama mentioned. As C.S. Lewis noted in his own way: " “Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” And, yes: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Myron J. Poltroonian
3rd August, 2012 @ 02:09 pm PDT
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