Digital Therapeutics, FDA approved digital therapeutics, ingestible sensor, prescription digital therapeutics, serious mental illness

Ingestible Sensor Tracks Abilify Adherence Using Prescription Digital Therapeutics


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Individuals with serious mental illness often struggle with medication compliance, increasing the likelihood of relapse of serious and life-threatening symptoms and psychiatric hospitalizations. Physicians often face challenges if compliance is in question when determining the efficacy of medications. A new prescription digital therapeutics ingestible sensor is providing a needed service for psychiatric populations with serious mental illness using a digital medication adherence tool—Aripiprazole iDAS (Richey et al., 2022). It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to track patient ingestion of the antipsychotic medication Aripiprazole, known by the brand name Abilify. While other ingestible sensors have been released for other medication adherence populations, this FDA-approved, prescription digital therapeutics system is one of the first to be marketed in the behavioral arena.

Using an ingestible sensor combined with the oral form of Aripiprazole, this prescription digital therapeutics system records when the patient takes the medication. The sensor works by transmitting a transient local signal to a patch the patient wears on their torso, which transmits a signal to a paired smartphone app. With the patient’s consent, the app can track medication adherence and other important data significant to individuals with serious mental illness, such as the patient’s mood, activity, and resting time.

Data Types & Associated Benefits of Prescription Digital Therapeutics

This FDA-approved prescription digital therapeutics tool provides information that reveals the following:

  • Longstanding patterns of adherence to medication that is available for both the patient and their prescriber
  • Useful data that can help patients and their prescribers develop realistic options for medication adherence
  • Methods to develop discussions on treatment options for serious mental illness
  • Methods to decrease appointment time are dedicated to investigating whether the patient is in compliance with medication and instead use this time to brainstorm reasons and develop solutions for non-adherence.

The benefits of this prescription digital therapeutics tool include the following:

  • Provides methods to strengthen the therapeutic relationship between patient and provider, which is critical among patients with serious mental illness.
  • Improve medication adherence and the attitudes of patients with serious mental illness toward antipsychotic medications.
  • Informs dosage and any dosage changes that may be necessary.
  • Serves as an “icebreaker” between patient and physician in beginning discussions about medication adherence and how patients feel about their medications and any side effects.
  • Encourages physicians to practice with compassion and understanding as they observe patient behavior data.

Richey et al. (2022) discussed that additional research is needed to investigate how this prescription digital therapeutics tool will influence the development of provider training and guidelines for best practices. As with other digital therapeutics, the researchers emphasized that this technology can damage the patient-physician relationship without the proper training and structured practice and lead to the wrongful use of this technology. Using caution when working with populations with serious mental illnesses is important. However, this prescription digital therapeutics tool provides promising solutions to barriers associated with medication adherence among individuals with serious mental illness.

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