Tracking Opioid Using Ingestible Biosensor

Tracking Opioid Using Ingestible Biosensor

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on November 28, 2017, approved the use of the first digital pill, which is administered with the combination of prescribed drug. 

Oxycodone is a type of opioids, which are routinely prescribed for short-term pain management, following pain-inducing injuries. However, use of these opioids is associated with development of tolerance and addiction due in part to dosage mismanagement by patients. Digital pills contain a biosensor along with a prescribed drugs. It is encapsulated in gelatin and the pill can be ingested to track drug use patterns. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have reported the application of this novel technology to track oxycodone use in patients with acute fracture pain.

15 acute fracture patients prescribed with oxycodone participated in the study. Digital pills for pain management were tracked for opioid ingestion over time. It was observed that the release of the oxycodone from the capsule triggers activation of the emitter, which relays information to an external patch located on the patient’s abdomen and subsequently to a reader that stores drug ingestion data.

Opioid self-administration occurred over a shorter period of time and with the ingestion of less pills than expected. Patients ingested an average of six pills out of the total 21 pills prescribed.  The results of the study provide important data regarding the efficacy of the ingestible digital pill that can be used for direct assessment of opioid ingestion and patient self-administration behavior. According to Smart Pills Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, effect of opioids can be monitored using digital smart pills, which can help physicians to monitor and identify escalating opioid use and intervene in cases of suspected tolerance or addiction.

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