The FDA recently approved aripiprazole tablets with a sensor to digitally track whether patients with schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, and depression have taken their medication, so it is a good time to look at how this technology works.1
With the product coming to market, it is a good time to find out how the prescription for this product will come through, if it will be a specialty medication, and who is responsible for helping the patient set up the device and application.
Other questions that have not yet been answered is what role will pharmacists play with these type of devices and other smart-enabled medications coming to market. We are seeing an influx of several smart-enabled devices, such as inhalers and potentially injectables (eg, insulin pens), that may be quite similar to Abilify MyCite, enabling tracking of adherence performance in patients. Another concern is who will be responsible for managing these data? Will it be providers or pharmacists who have the data and are expected to encourage patients to be adherent? Conversely, what happens if a patient is nonadherent and that leads to a negative health event. Will those who have the data be held responsible?
1. FDA approves pill with sensor that digitally tracks if patients have ingested their medication [news release]. fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm584933.htm. November 13, 2017. Accessed November 17, 2017.
2. Abilify MyCite [prescribing information]. Tokyo, Japan: Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co, Ltd; 2017. accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/207202lbl.pdf. Accessed November 17, 2017.
3. Otsuka. Introducing Ability MyCite. abilifymycite.com/media/Infographic.pdf. Accessed November 17, 2017.
Timothy Aungst, PharmD
Timothy Dy Aungst, PharmD, is an associate professor of pharmacy practice at MCPHS University. He graduated from Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Luke's University Hospital, and then a Clinical Geriatric Fellowship at MCPHS University. He is passionate about the rise of technology in health care and its application to pharmacy. He has published primarily on the role of mobile technology and mHealth, and made multiple national and international presentations on those topics. He blogs at TheDigitalApothecary.com, is a Co-Host of FurtureDose.tech a podcast part of the Pharmacy Podcast Network, and you can find him on Twitter @TDAungst.