Traditional medical pills have been around since the ancient Egyptians used them, but one of the biggest problems of traditional pills is that half of the patients take them at the wrong time, the wrong dose, or do not take them at all. People might have problems remembering to take the medication or problems opening the package. New tech-enabled pills are making it possible to allow people with mental health conditions to take their medications regularly.
How Digital Pills Work
When a patient swallows a tech-enabled pill, and it hits their stomach, the acid environment activates the pill’s onboard sensor. The pill then lets a wearable patch or lanyard know that the medication has been taken. The first digital pill has been approved by Abilify Mycite, which contains medication for psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Mental health conditions like these make it hard to regularly keep up with your medications with serious consequences for missing a dose. When these pills are swallowed, the pill’s sensor communicates with Bluetooth through a chest-worn patch which lets the smartphone app know the pill has been taken. The data can either be used for the patient’s own specific needs or be sent to a doctor or caregiver.
The Challenges of Digital Pills
Tech-enabled pills are more expensive than traditional pills, and there are questions if they improve taking medications compared to simply monitoring. There are also privacy and security issues with people uncomfortable sharing their information. If your insurance company knows they are paying for a pill you are not taking action, there is a chance they can stop paying for it. Patients would need to provide informed consent that this information would be shared with healthcare professionals. This does not have to be seen as an issue of privacy as much as it is about the communication between a doctor and a patient. This is no different than a digital health intervention.
The Importance of Digital Pills
If you are tackling a mental illness, a doctor needs to be made aware that it is being treated with the utmost care. During this pandemic, where people are afraid to visit doctor’s offices, you would be able to take these pills at home and have a doctor monitor your progress from their location. Digital pills have the potential to be the future of medication in making sure you are taking your medication adequately.
Digital pills, when swallowed, can monitor when you have taken them in which the information can be sent to a doctor. Medications like these can be beneficial for those struggling with a mental illness in that they will never forget about taking their medications if a doctor is aware of their progress. At Alta Loma, we understand how challenging medication management can be. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can provide you with the tools you need to treat your mental illness, such as medication management, individualized therapy, therapeutic recreational activities, and much more. Please call (866) 457-3843 for more information.