Digital pills successfully monitor opioid use after injury - (ScienceDaily via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Findings from a pilot study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia suggest digital pills may help track patterns of drug use in patients prescribed opioids, reported ScienceDaily.

  • Senior author Edward Boyer remarked that "as an investigational tool, the digital pill provides a direct measure of opioid ingestion and changes in medication-taking behavior."

  • He added "this technology may also make it possible for physicians to monitor adherence, identify escalating opioid use patterns that may suggest the development of tolerance or addiction and intervene for a specific medical condition or patient population."

  • The study involved 15 patients who received a prescription for oxycodone digital pills, to be taken as needed, following treatment for acute fractures. The eTectRx ID-Cap system was used, with each pill consisting of a unique radiofrequency emitter and a standard capsule containing oxycodone.

  • When the capsule dissolves, the medication is released and chloride ions energize the emitter. The patient wears a sticky patch on their abdomen, attached to an iPod-sized cable reader that stores data about pill ingestion.

  • Results showed that the opioid-naïve patients self-administered opioids to manage pain for only a brief period and only took a fraction of the number of pills they were given.

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